Though the White House launched its “Made in America” initiative earlier this week to promote American jobs and products, President Donald Trump’s businesses have again taken steps to hire foreign workers.
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and his golf course in Jupiter, Florida, have filed documents to bring in additional foreign workers under the H-2B visa program, which allows foreigners to fill temporary non-agriculture jobs in the United States that supposedly cannot be filled by US workers.
The requests were filed with the Labor Department – which certifies companies to apply for the visas that are then issued by the Department of Homeland Security – earlier in July but posted on a public job registry Thursday. They show the Mar-a-Lago Club is seeking to hire 15 housekeepers, 20 cooks and 35 servers.
The Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, has also submitted documents to hire six cooks through the visa program.
The jobs, which would begin in October and end in May 2018, would pay a minimum of $10.33, $11.88 and $13.34 per hour but would be eligible for higher wages with overtime.
Trump made boosting American jobs a central tenet of his presidential campaign and has continued to promote the idea of “Buy American and Hire American” during his time in office. In April, he signed an executive order under that slogan in an effort “to create higher wages and employment rates for workers in the United States.”
This week, the White House is using “Made in America Week” to showcase the President’s tax and regulatory policies and priorities, and to spotlight companies and workers making products at home.
The White House, the Trump Organization, Mar-a-Lago and Trump National Golf Club did not respond to requests for comment.
Controversy over H-2B program
Trump’s businesses’ requests for more seasonal foreign workers were posted the same week that the administration announced it would allow US companies to hire up to 15,000 more foreign workers for temporary non-agricultural work this year.
But the timing is coincidental. The applications from Trump’s organizations would begin next fiscal year, meaning they come out of a different annual pot of H-2B visas. The Trump businesses could still apply for some of the supplemental 2017 visas, though, if they can prove to DHS that they need them to avoid “irreparable harm.”
A CNN analysis of visa records in April found businesses run and owned by Trump and his adult children have been certified to hire at least 1,371 foreign visa workers since 2001.
Some foreign workers previously told CNN the opportunities at Trump’s businesses allowed them to “live the American dream,” but some lawmakers have argued the H-2B visa program can harm American workers.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said in a joint statement Monday that “a growing body of evidence shows that our increasing reliance on the H-2B visa program hurts wages for American workers, and puts their jobs at risk.”