President Donald Trump ran on a platform of “America First” which convinced many Americans to vote for him. But, as usual, what Trump says and what Trump does are two different things, not that it matters anymore to his base.
Of 144 positions that Trump properties in Florida and New York needed to fill, only one job went to an American worker. The other 143 positions were filled by foreign guest workers with H-2B visas.
The H-2B visa program “allows U.S. employers…to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs” when they can’t find American workers to fill the positions. Unsurprisingly, while the president verbally attacked immigrants, and restricted some avenues of legal immigration, his administration temporarily expanded the H-2B visa program for 2017.
According to documents submitted to the US Department of Labor, three Trump properties, including Mar-A-Largo, were only able to hire one American for 144 positions that were available from the beginning of 2016 through the end of 2017. The positions filled were for cooks, bartenders, housekeepers, and servers.
The documents also show that hiring managers at the three Trump properties did the bare minimum as far as fulfilling the requirements to recruit US workers. This included placing an ad in the local newspaper announcing the job openings for 2 days, notifying past employees of the openings via US mail, and posting the available positions in the businesses for current employees to see.
After waiting the required month after these steps, the hiring manager at Mar-A-Lago claimed that only seven US citizens applied for the jobs, and that they were either uninterested or unqualified for the positions.
Executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies Mark Krikorian, who is typically supportive of Trump’s immigration agenda, has issues with the H-2B visa program. Krikorian thinks the program is simply a way for employers to avoid paying American workers a living wage or avoid offering American workers benefits.
“It’s a bullshit law written to ensure that employers don’t have to hire Americans”, says Krikorian. Which is a bit of hypocrisy, when President Trump claimed that Americans should come first.