Donald Trump Keeps Hiring More Low-Wage Foreign Workers

America first? The president-elect has been staffing up two of his Florida properties with guest workers from foreign countries

Photo Illustration: Vocativ
Dec 08, 2016 at 12:45 PM ET

Donald Trump is, once again, staffing a pair of luxury properties in Florida with low-paid workers from foreign countries, a decision that appears to undermine the “America First” vision he continues to peddle to the public.

The president-elect won approval to hire 77 foreign workers at his exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort and Jupiter golf course through the federal government’s H-2B visa program, a review of new data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows. And some of these employees will receive less pay than they did the year before from the newly minted dealmaker-in-chief.

Labor records show that 25 cooks hired at Trump’s Palm Beach County properties will earn $12.74 an hour, down from $13.01 an hour the year before. Some 15 house keepers and 37 wait staff, however, will see a modest raises. They will earn $10.17 an hour and $11.13 an hour, respectively, up from $10.07 an hour and $10.99 an hour last year.

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A real estate mogul and self-described billionaire, Trump is no stranger to the federal government’s foreign guest worker programs, which allow companies to import workers temporarily from overseas. In the last 15 years, his various businesses received approval to hire at least 1,256 foreign workers, CNN reported in July.

Trump faced intense criticism on the campaign trail for his history of using low-paid foreign labor, as some claimed that the practice contradicted his harsh views toward immigrants and didn’t jibe with his vows to put Americans back to work. As president-elect, he continues to elevate his U.S.-centric rhetoric and has hammered companies that move jobs out of the country for leaving U.S. workers high and dry.

“There is no global anthem, no global currency, no certificate of global citizenship,” he said during a post-victory tour stop in Cincinnati last week. “We pledge allegiance to one flag, and that flag is the American flag. From now on, it’s going to be America first, OK? America first. We’re going to put ourselves first.”

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Yet when it comes to his own properties, Trump has repeatedly insisted that he cannot find Americans to take the jobs given to foreign guest workers. “You cannot get help during the season. The season goes from like October to March. It’s almost impossible to get help,” he remarked as a candidate when asked about why he hired foreign workers at his Mar-a-Lago resort. “And part of the reason you can’t get American people is they want full time jobs.”

As of October, there were nearly 36,000 unemployed people living in Palm Beach County, according to reports. CareerSource Palm Beach County, a nonprofit job placement agency, told the Palm Beach Post this week that it knows plenty of American citizens willing to work at Trump’s properties.

“We have hundreds of qualified candidates and hundreds of job orders for various hospitality positions such as servers, chefs, cooks, bartenders, housekeeping, guest services, spa services, recreation, maintenance and more,” CareerSource spokesman Tom Veenstra told the Post.

Neither Mar-a-Lago, Jupiter, nor the Trump Organization immediately responded to a request for comment.