The Corner

Politics & Policy

Donald Trump Turned Down 94.4 Percent of American Job Applicants, Applied for Hundreds of ‘H’ Visas Instead

Surprise! Donald Trump is a rank hypocrite on immigration. Per the New York Times:

Donald J. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach describes itself as “one of the most highly regarded private clubs in the world,” and it is not just the very-well-to-do who want to get in.

Since 2010, nearly 300 United States residents have applied or been referred for jobs as waiters, waitresses, cooks and housekeepers there. But according to federal records, only 17 have been hired.

In all but a handful of cases, Mar-a-Lago sought to fill the jobs with hundreds of foreign guest workers from Romania and other countries.

In his quest for the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. Trump has stoked his crowds by promising to bring back jobs that have been snatched by illegal immigrants or outsourced by corporations, and voters worried about immigration have been his strongest backers.

But he has also pursued more than 500 visas for foreign workers at Mar-a-Lago since 2010, according to the United States Department of Labor, while hundreds of domestic applicants failed to get the same jobs.

Or, put another way, Trump has deliberately chosen to hire foreign workers to fill those jobs that “Americans just won’t do.” 17 out of 300? That’s 5.6 percent. 17 out of 500? That’s 3.4 percent. Bad!

So what’s Trump’s excuse? That’s he’s a businessman and that these are the realities on the ground? That, I’m afraid, won’t wash. When Disney behaved like this, there was a loud and sustained outcry from . . . well, no less than Donald Trump himself. In an interview with Breitbart, Trump argued that Disney should be forced to rehire any Americans it had overlooked or replaced. Trump also said this:

If I am President, I will not issue any H-1B visas to companies that replace American workers and my Department of Justice will pursue action against them.

And he offered this critique of expanding the “H” program:

It would allow any company in America to replace any worker with cheaper foreign labor. It legalizes job theft. It gives companies the legal right to pass over Americans, displace Americans, or directly replace Americans for good-paying middle class jobs.

This attitude is is a popular one among Trump’s supporters. Indeed, Breitbart’s emissary to the Trump campaign, Matthew Boyle, has argued that “what Disney did — with the help of the U.S. government’s lax H1B immigration and visa policies — was awful.” Moreover, he has praised Trump for supposedly standing against it:

This is perhaps one of the most under-discussed issues in the 2016 GOP presidential primary election. Frontrunner Donald Trump’s immigration reform plan details exactly how he would fix this problem if he’s elected president.

He wants to “increase” the “prevailing wage for H-1Bs,” one subsection of his plan lays out.

Trump also wants a “requirement to hire American workers first.”

And yet, by Trump’s own logic, the H-2B program that he so heavily used is even more egregious than the H-1Bs system that Disney took advantage of. Why? Well, because unlike H-1Bs — which can in theory be used to recruit skilled workers — H-2Bs are aimed directly at the bottom of the economic ladder. Here’s the Times again:

“You almost have them as indentured servants,” said Danny Fontenot, director of the hospitality program at Palm Beach State College. “And they affect everyone else’s wages. You can make a lot of money by never having to give your employees raises.”

Greg Schell, a lawyer in Palm Beach County who has helped foreign guest workers sue employers over labor violations, said companies frequently made little effort to find local employees before applying for visas.

“I have seen no demonstrated need to import guest workers for the hospitality industry,” Mr. Schell said. “Employers who want to find American workers find them.”

And clearly, Trump didn’t want to find them. Which means that, in his own words, he is guilty of gaming the system to “replace any worker with cheaper foreign labor”; he is guilty of “job theft”; and he is guilty of indulging the “legal right to pass over Americans, displace Americans, or directly replace Americans for good-paying middle class jobs.”

Slamming Disney for its use of H-1Bs, Matthew Boyle also proposed that the “scandal doesn’t seem to be going away, and only appears to be intensifying as the electoral season progresses.” What, one wonders, must Boyle then think of Trump? If we are to judge a man by his actions and not by his rhetoric — as I’m told we should — then Trump comes up short, no? When 300 hardworking Americans tried to land a job at his resort, Trump kicked them to the curb and applied instead for 500 “H” visas.

It’s “election season” now, so I await the extensive Breitbart denunciation with bated, skeptical breath. In the meantime, the good people of America should realize that they’re being duped by a bad man who doesn’t give a hoot about anybody other than himself.


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