But what does Ivana think? In response to that question, likely asked by no one, the former wife of Donald Trump has weighed in on her ex-husband, why he will be good for the country, and how she advises him on his 2016 campaign. In an interview with the New York Post on Sunday, Ivana Trump revealed that she has mended fences with Trump and that she is on board with his candidacy -- including his proposed immigration policies.
Ivana Trump, who was born in Czechoslovakia, has a fairly narrow view of her fellow immigrants. "As long as you come here legally and get a proper job... we need immigrants," she said. "Who's going to vacuum our living rooms and clean up after us? Americans don't like to do that." Allowing that the idea of vacuuming her own living room or cleaning up after herself does not seem to have entered into her mind, Ms. Trump's comments reveal a fundamental ignorance about the lives of immigrants as well as American workers. In most states, housekeeper is not actually the most common profession for immigrants. According to an analysis of U.S. Census data by Business Insider, a majority of housekeepers and maids are American-born. The most common job held by immigrants in Donald Trump's home state of New York, for example, is home health care aide.
How sad that a woman who describes herself as the "perfect example of professionalism, motherhood, and ambition" can only see immigrants as low-wage, menial workers. Immigrants, both legal and undocumented, perform critical tasks throughout society, from nurturing our children to starting small businesses to caring for our seniors. Forty percent of Fortune 500 countries were started by immigrants or their children. So not all immigrants are consigned to vacuuming Mrs. Trump's living room.
Ivana Trump is also wrong to assume that American workers do not want to work as housekeepers or in domestic positions. For proof, she need look no further than Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where her former husband has repeatedly hired foreign workers over hundred of Americans. Since 2010, nearly 300 United States residents have applied or been referred for jobs as waiters, waitresses, cooks and housekeepers at Mar-a-Lago, reported the New York Times. But federal records show that only 17 have been hired; the rest of the jobs went to workers from Romania and other countries.
Ms. Trump seems to believe that undocumented immigrants are a drag on the economy. "I have nothing against Mexicans," she stated, before unloading a trove of inaccurate information about an imaginary pregnant, undocumented immigrant. "She gives the birth in American hospital, which is for free. The child becomes American automatically," Trump said. "She brings the whole family, she doesn't pay the taxes, she doesn't have a job, she gets the housing, she gets the food stamps. Who's paying? You and me."
Not exactly. Having a child in the U.S. is no protection from deportation for an undocumented immigrant. In 2013, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported over 72,000 undocumented parents of U.S.-born children. Contrary to what Ms. Trump believes, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for food stamps, "Obamacare," or other social service programs. Undocumented workers, in fact, do pay taxes at the federal, state, and local level. Undocumented workers pay an estimated net $12 billion annually into the Social Security Fund (money they will not benefit from later in life). According to the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, undocumented workers have collectively paid $11.64 billion annually in state and local taxes.
Ivana Trump's website states that she is the "ultimate symbol of strength, glamour, and worldliness." Though these claims may be debatable, it is safe to say that Ms. Trump is no immigration expert. She is a private person who is thankfully not running for office. Yet if she expects to avoid public criticism, then she should not be giving "exclusive" interviews to newspaper tabloids on issues whose nuances clearly escape her. If she truly cares about our illegal immigration problem, she might consider that Trump Tower -- where she once lived -- was allegedly built in part by undocumented Polish workers. Or that the Washington Post has reported that undocumented workers are currently building a Trump hotel in D.C. These would be more productive endeavors than scapegoating immigrants and promoting offensive, xenophobic falsehoods.
Ivana Trump's demeaning comments about immigrants reflect only her shallow and uninformed views. The last thing this country needs is another Trump advising us on immigration.