Trump’s self-serving immigration ban

Trump closes the country to immigrants, except the ones he regularly hires and fires

Published April 26, 2020 12:30PM (EDT)

Donald Trump; Mar-A-Lago (Getty/Gary Gershoff/Shutterstock)
Donald Trump; Mar-A-Lago (Getty/Gary Gershoff/Shutterstock)

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Donald Trump's new ban on new immigration is designed to make sure he can continue to hire foreign workers at Mar-a-Lago and his other properties, denying jobs to the Americans he claims to care about.

During the five o'clock follies Tuesday, Trump said "by pausing immigration we will help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens — so important. It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced by any new immigrant labor flown in from abroad. We must first take care of the American worker — take care of the American worker."

But less than a minute later, Trump added a self-serving caveat:

The ban applies "only to people seeking permanent residency," he said, citing holders and seekers of green cards. He said the ban on immigrant workers does "not apply to those entering on a temporary basis."

Trump has made extensive use of both foreign workers entering the United States legally with a temporary visa and illegally.

At Mar-a-Lago, for example, close to 80 workers — chambermaids, wait staff, bartenders and others — are foreign workers. They can be fired, forcing them to immediately leave the country. This imbalance of power ensures the foreign staff are almost certain to submit to hostile work conditions. In turn, that gives Trump and his managers tremendous control over these workers.

There are at least 4,000 qualified resort workers who each year seek employment but cannot even get job interviews at Mar-a-Lago. Trump got around the requirement to offer these Americans jobs by posting employment notice in a small classified ad in local newspapers with no mention of Mar-a-Lago. Applicants had to file resumes by fax, a technology few low-paid tourism industry workers own.

In 2015 and 2016, when Trump was running for office with attacks on immigrant labor, his companies applied for more than 400 H-2B visas for low-paid temporary foreign workers.

By David Cay Johnston

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