One of Donald Trump‘s big campaign promises is to bring jobs back to America. Of course, he never said they would go to Americans. The New York Times reports that since 2010, only six percent of the 520 seasonal positions listed by Trump’s Mar-a-Lago private club went to U.S. workers.
According U.S. Department of Labor records, Trump has pursued over 500 visas for seasonal foreign workers at the club. The visas are issued through programs such as H-2B, which allow foreign workers to come to the country when there are not enough Americans available for the jobs. Most of Trump’s applications indicated that he was unable to fill the positions with Americans. The current GOP Presidential front-runner told the Times that “there are very few qualified people during the high season in the area.”
Employers have to pay for foreign workers’ transportation to the U.S. and recruitment fees, and there is a lengthy process for employers to acquire these visas, which are valid for 10 months and can be extended to three years. First, they have to advertise the jobs on a state website and twice in a local paper, then report the number of responses and hires to the federal government. Then they have to give the reasons why they did not hire the domestic applicants. Mar-a-Lago reported that many U.S. applicants were not qualified or could not be reached by the club, and Trump himself claimed that some of them turned out not to be interested in the jobs. To support this, the Times spoke to applicants who did indeed say that they turned down potential opportunities at the club in favor of a full-time position with benefits, or an opportunity to earn more from gratuities elsewhere, as Mar-a-Lago discourages tips.
However, those two accounts do not explain the whole picture. For example, over 250 Americans applied or were referred for waitstaff, cooking, and housekeeping positions and never got the job. Trump insisted that “the only reason they wouldn’t get a callback is that they weren’t qualified, for some reason.”
Labor advocates claim that employers take advantage of the visa programs to hire cheaper foreign labor. A wait-staff position at Mar-a-Lago was advertised to American workers as paying $10.60/hour. Florida minimum wage is $8.05.
[h/t The New York Time, image via Andrew Cline/Shutterstock]