The “Winter White House” Once Again Staffing Up with Foreign Workers

Just over a year after signing his “Buy American and Hire American” executive order, President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort (his “Winter White House” as he terms it) has filed a request to hire foreign workers – again.

According to the Labor Department, the resort has filed for permission to hire 61 immigrants as waiters and cooks for the 2018 winter season (October to May). The workers’ H-2B visas would expire at the end of the term, and they would be required to return home.

Here’s how it works: In order to obtain H-2B visas, employers must prove that there are not enough Americans “able, willing, qualified, and available” to do the work. However, last year, Mar-a-Lago apparently did not make much of an effort to find American workers. According to the Washington Post, the resort only placed two classified ads. They were hard to find and in small print; there was contact information, but job seekers could only apply by fax or U.S. mail. Furthermore, the ads were only posted after Mar-a-Lago asked the Labor Department for permission to hire from abroad. However, a nonprofit placement agency said it had a database of 5,136 qualified candidates for “various hospitality positions.”

That practice contradicts the Trump Administration’s America-first economic policies, and it isn’t the first time. Reports have shown that since announcing his candidacy for president in June 2015, properties bearing Trump’s name have employed nearly 500 workers under the H-2B program, with the Mar-a-Lago Club alone accounting for more than half of those workers. However, since 2010, nearly 300 U.S. residents have applied or were referred for jobs as wait staff, cooks, and housekeepers at Mar-a-Lago, yet only 17 have been hired, according to reports.

Does anyone really think Mar-a-Lago cannot find a bartender in Palm Beach? They just want to avoid paying higher wages. The use of temporary foreign workers not only means lower wages but savings on raises and benefits.

While the U.S. visa system is legal, President Trump takes advantage of the very immigrants he so frequently denigrates in order to boost his own bottom line. Furthermore, just like what is happening to immigrants at the borders, these workers are basically being held captive. Since the visas are tied to a particular job, the foreign workers have no opportunities to seek better employment once they arrive. They must either work for the employer assigned under the visa or they are sent back home.

Despite the President’s mantra to “buy American and hire American” the Trump family retains major business operations overseas, and the Trump Organization continues to manufacture most Trump products in foreign factories. Although Trump has enacted tariffs on Chinese goods, it won’t touch Ivanka’s foreign-made products for her fashion line. If the president truly wants to help 'make America great again,' he might consider creating jobs with his businesses here in America rather than overseas.

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