Who is going to cook the food, make the beds, and bring the drinks to the table at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club? Temporary foreign workers, hopefully, as the palatial Florida resort owned by the Trump Organization put in a request with the Department of Labor for 70 temporary foreign workers just as the White House was celebrating “Made in America” Week. Yet 70 additional H2-B or H2-A visas is a small drop in the bucket compared to the number of foreign workers the property has tried to hire since Trump launched his presidential campaign in 2015.
During “Made In America,” critics were quick to point to the many Trump and Ivanka-branded goods and their contradictory places of origin. Yet the same contradictions are present in the total of 370 foreign guest workers requested by Trump Organization businesses in the past two years, 230 of which were requested by Mar-a-Lago and the Jupiter club. Both were for H2 visa workers, which are different from the H1-B visas that many in the tech industry worried the Trump’s travel ban would neglect. H1 visas are for specialized work, while H2 visas are temporary permits for low-paying non-agricultural labor.
The latter is who Mar-a-Lago is looking to hire. None of the kitchen and housekeeping positions the resort needs to fill pay above $15 an hour, and the club says it can’t find American citizens to take the jobs. Similarly, while the Department of Labor announced 222,000 jobs were added in June, most of these were in the service sector. Though unemployment is down, job participation and retention didn’t increase at the same rate as jobs available, and employers complained they were having trouble filling positions considered low-paying or dangerous.
So it’s not just Trump Organization companies that are struggling to find American workers willing to take minimum wage jobs. But given the president’s stance on preserving American jobs for American workers, it’s worth noting the companies that bear his name (and from which he still profits) are playing the game just like everyone else.