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Aug
2016
5

First Resort: Trump Hiring Foreign Temps on H-2b Visas Despite Available American Workers

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says he wants to bring jobs back home to America. Apparently the billionaire businessman also wants to give those jobs away to temporary guest workers.

Trump is currently looking to staff two of his Florida properties — the Mar-A-Largo resort in Palm Springs and the Trump National Jupiter golf course in Jupiter, FL — with workers who have come to the U.S. on seasonal H-2B work visas. Trump says he can’t find enough workers here at home to fill the positions, a claim that has been questioned:

An official at Palm Beach’s career services service told Buzzfeed last year that the agency had “hundreds of people in our database that would qualify for a lot of those hospitality jobs.” The agency now has 1,237 residents of Palm Beach Country interested in server, cook or chef positions, according to Buzzfeed.

[…] In the past year, Trump has gotten permission from the Department of Labor to hire at least 149 guest workers.

This could spell trouble for Trump — as if he has any room for error left — especially in crucial rustbelt states where wages are depressed and jobs are scarce. Just this week in must-win Pennsylvania, a landscaping company settled a case with 94 guest workers to the tune of $700,000. The workers sued the company, called Earth Care, Inc., for failing to pay the prevailing wage, failing to pay workers for the total number of hours spent on the job, and failing to cover travel expenses:

“If you want to exploit these workers, it’s really easy,” said Stephanie Dorenbosch, counsel with Friends of Farmworkers, who represented workers in Ortega Hernandez v. Earth Care, Inc. The landscaping company has clients in all four suburban Philadelphia counties.

Companies that employ guest workers — which include H-2A agricultural workers — have drawn lawsuits across the country, and advocacy group the Southern Poverty Law Center has gone so far as to equate them with slavery. Meanwhile, employers continue to lobby the federal government to issue more of the visas, citing poor domestic labor prospects for jobs in growing industries, such as landscaping.

For extensive coverage of the troublesome H-2B program Trump is looking to exploit, peruse this curated search of our archives.

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