POLITICS

Trump Winery Applies To Labor Department To Hire 23 Foreign Workers

Application lands at Labor Department after media exposes undocumented workers at Trump businesses.

A Trump winery in Virginia has applied to the U.S. Labor Department to hire 23 foreign workers, according to filed documents.

Trump businesses have hired 600 foreign workers since Donald Trump’s campaign for president, even as he railed about American jobs going to foreigners, according to BuzzFeed, which was the first to report the latest application. Trump operations have filed requests to hire more foreign workers each year since then.

CNN reported in 2016 that Trump businesses had employed at least 1,256 foreign workers in the previous 15 years, according to federal records.

The New York Times reported in 2016 that since 2010, only 17 of 300 American applicants were hired to work at Mar-a-Lago, the golf resort that Trump calls the “Winter White House.” Since 2010, Mar-a-Lago has obtained a total of 500 H-2B visas for seasonal non-agricultural foreign workers, according to The New Yorker.

Now Trump Vineyard Estates in Charlottesville is seeking permission to hire temporary farm laborers under the H-2A visa program. Employers can hire foreign workers under the program only if no qualified U.S. workers want the jobs — though Trump businesses have been accused of making only feeble attempts to reach out to American workers.

The Trump Winery work pays $12.25 an hour and would begin in mid-March and run through late October. 

The Trump Winery’s website says it is a registered trade name of Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing LLC and is “not owned ... or affiliated with Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization or any of their affiliates.”

But the winery is located on the Trump Vineyard Estates LLC, which filed the visa request. Trump Vineyard Estates is listed as part of the real estate portfolio of the Trump Organization, according to its website, which is owned by the president. Trump also boasted to reporters in 2017 that he owned the operation.

The latest Trump application to hire foreign workers comes as undocumented immigrants have told The New York Times and The Washington Post that they have worked for several years at Trump operations even though they say supervisors were aware they weren’t in the country legally.

A former maintenance worker, Gabriel Sedano, told the Post that he “started to cry” when he was called into an office at Trump National Golf Club in New York’s Westchester County earlier this month and fired. He was one of a dozen undocumented workers suddenly fired at the site.

“I told them they needed to consider us. I had worked almost 15 years for them in this club, and I’d given the best of myself to this job,” Sedano told the Post. 

A house cleaner told the Times in December that she worked for years at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. Her attorney said she was provided with fake green cards and Social Security numbers by resort managers when she was working there illegally. She was also fired shortly after the first Times story appeared.

The president’s son Eric Trump, who operates the Virginia winery for his father, lashed out Monday over media coverage of his father’s apparent hypocrisy on foreign workers.

Ironically, the president received a loud round of applause earlier this month when he promised farmers at a conference in New Orleans that he would “make it easier” for immigrants to come into the country to work for them. “You need these people,” he added.

Farmers have been hurt by a dire shortage of laborers as the Trump administration cracks down on immigrants.

Trump has criticized companies like Ford for moving manufacturing jobs to Mexico. Yet Mar-a-Lago was applying for the foreign worker visas in 2017 at the same time the president launched “Made in America Week” at the White House. 

Trump said then: “We believe jobs must be offered to American workers first. Does that make sense?”

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