That’s a 9 percent increase from last year, when Mar-a-Lago hired 64 workers under the H-2B visa program.
The new visas will go to 20 foreign cooks, 35 waiters and 15 maids and housekeepers for the 2017-18 tourist season, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They’ll earn hourly wages from $10.33 (for the cleaners) to $13.34 (for the cooks). The temporary visas allow them to work from October 2017 to the end of May 2018.
A hallmark of Trump’s presidential campaign and a stated push of his administration is that U.S. companies should hire American workers. He has criticized Ford Motor Company, Carrier Corp. and others for moving manufacturing jobs to Mexico. Mar-a-Lago was applying for the foreign worker visas this July when the president launched “Made in America Week.”
Trump said at the time, “We believe jobs must be offered to American workers first. Does that make sense?”
Over the years, many products sold by the Trump Organization have also been made in overseas factories. Ivanka Trump’s clothing line is exclusively manufactured abroad.
Foreign workers won’t just be laboring at Mar-a-Lago this winter. Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, was granted visas for 10 waiters and six cooks, and Trump National Golf Club Westchester in Briarcliff Manor, New York, obtained visas to bring in eight waiters.
During a Republican primary debate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) grilled Trump on hiring foreign workers at his resorts. Trump responded that it’s “hard to find” U.S. workers, getting visas for foreign workers is “legal,” and his company had “no choice.”
Companies are required to run two want ads in local newspapers before applying for foreign worker visas. Mar-a-Lago chose to place two hard-to-find classified ads in tiny type with no phone number or email information, according to a Washington Post report in August. Workers could apply only by fax or mail.
CareerSource Palm Beach County, a nonprofit placement agency, told The Palm Beach Post that there are many Americans eager to work at Mar-a-Lago. “We currently have 5,136 qualified candidates in Palm Beach County for various hospitality positions,” spokesman Tom Veenstra said.