Is Donald Trump a Hypocrite on Immigration?

Posted: Feb 25, 2016 1:00 PM

The New York Times published a bombshell of an article today, saying that while hundreds of Americans have applied for low-skill jobs as waitresses, housekeepers, and cooks at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, FL., only 17 were hired. The rest were filled by foreign guest workers.

From the piece: (emphasis added)

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.

According to the piece, after a similar report in Reuters criticized the candidate for his lack of hiring American workers, he pledged to request American workers for 50 jobs at the club. There was one request, for a banquet server, that was eventually filled by an American worker.

After a report by Reuters in July about Mr. Trump’s use of guest workers, executives from Mar-a-Lago met with recruiters from Mr. Veenstra’s agency, promising to request local workers for 50 positions.

But Mar-a-Lago sent over just a single job request, for a banquet server. Mr. Veenstra said CareerSource referred four applicants to the club and one of them got the job.

Since then, Mr. Veenstra said, “we haven’t received any other job orders.”

Trump has claimed that the applications received were by people who were not qualified or otherwise unwilling to take the job.

A guest worker in the United States is bound to the employer who issued them a visa, and cannot switch jobs without an additional visa approval. Critics of the program say that these workers are effectively indentured servants.

If these allegations are true, they look pretty bad for Trump. I find it incredibly hard to believe that out of hundreds of applicants for a waitressing or housekeeping job that only 17 were qualified or willing to do the job. While I understand the appeal of having a captive workforce that is legally unable to leave their jobs for a better one, I personally wouldn't categorize the H2 visa program as one that makes America great.