Any time Donald Trump has to talk about any aspect of immigration other than his border wall – the one Mexico’s going to pay for, in case you hadn’t heard – he falls back on his donor-class, crony-corporatist instincts. In the October CNBC debate, he essentially embraced Marco Rubio’s support for increased “skilled” worker visas and praised Mark Zuckerberg, both positions diametrically opposed to his published immigration platform.
Then in the debate late last month, he embraced the Chuck Schumer/Marco Rubio position that there are Jobs Americans Won’t Do, specifically low-skilled jobs at his club in Palm Beach, and that foreigners have to be imported to do them.
In Thursday’s debate, he reiterated both anti-American-worker positions, favoring the importation of more high-skilled and low-skilled foreign workers. “I’m changing,” Trump said, regarding his views on skilled visas. “I’m changing it and I’m softening the position because we have to have talented people in this country.” True enough, except that we already have twice as many technical degree holders as there are tech jobs.
What made Trump’s “I’m changing” comment even more shameless than usual for him is that just on Sunday he held a rally featuring former Disney employees who were replaced by the very foreign worker program he’s now praising.
And just as happened in October, his appalled staff quickly fired off a press release this morning essentially saying “Never mind.” It ends, “I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions.” At least until the next time he’s asked about it.
Trump also reiterated his position that he has no choice but to hire foreign workers to make beds and the like at his Florida resorts. His defense is they’re seasonal jobs: “It’s a few months, five months at the most. People don’t want a short-term job.”
Well, first of all, hundreds of Americans sought those jobs, but only a handful were hired, the rest of the positions being filled by foreigners. What’s more, you’ll not be surprised that “five months at the most” is simply incorrect. My colleague David Seminara looked at the applications online and found that:
The work period for Mar-a-Lago’s guest workers, according to the petitions, is nearly always October 1 to May 31, which is 8 months. On other occasions, his company petitioned for even longer periods. For example, in 2009, the Trump National Golf Club petitioned for guest workers for the period January 26 through November 20.
So, while has said things like this before, Trump was especially forceful Thursday night in pushing the case for large-scale importation of foreign workers. Why? Maybe a CNN story report published a few hours before the debate offers a clue: “Donald Trump plans fundraising blitz if he wins GOP nomination, source says“. Where do you find the kind of money you need for a general-election campaign? From the very people who want to import more cheap foreign labor.