Report: Trump Organization's Use Of Foreign-Worker Visas Hits A 10-Year High

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/Public Domain

The Trump Organization requested and received at least 192 foreign worker visas in 2018—the most since at least 2008.

The anti-immigration rhetoric spewing forth from President Donald Trump makes little sense in light of the hiring practices of his own family companies, according to TPM.

In 2018, the Trump Organization “requested and received at least 192 visas for foreign workers”, Labor Department data shows, which looks to be the company’s highest number going back to at least 2008.

The nearly two decades’ worth of data were pulled together by the Democratic research group American Bridge and shared with TPM, which then reviewed the raw Labor Department information files.Those visas were almost entirely for the type of low-skilled foreign workers that Trump has claimed drive down American wages. Cooks, servers, housekeepers and farmworkers make up a large chunk of the Trump Organization’s requests, most of them making between $10 and $15 hourly.

In 2018, the various Trump properties received 163 H2B visas for non-agricultural temporary workers and 29 H2A visas for agricultural temporary workers.

Despite his insistence on buying and hiring American, Trump has defended his practice of hiring foreign workers — even as he criticizes other companies for doing the same.

“It’s very, very hard to get people. But other hotels do the exact same thing. And just so you understand, just again, this is a legal process,” he said about his hiring at Mar-a-Lago during a 2016 presidential primary debate. “This is a procedure. It’s part of the law. I take advantage of that. There’s nothing wrong with it. We have no choice.”

Under the Trump administration, companies have had a rough time getting H2B visas: the method for granting visas was changed “from first come, first serve to a lottery system, hurting industries from landscaping to crab-picking that rely on predictability in the visas program.”

And in September, the Department of Labor announced it would be cracking downon the H2B program by ramping up investigations of hotels using the program.

The Trump Organization appears to have received every H2A and H2B visa it requested in 2018. It also appears that the company has received more than 90 percent of the visas it requested every year in the last decade, though it’s hard to be certain: The percentage of annual approved visas is an approximation in three of the past 18 years, as the Department of Labor didn’t include the number of requested visas for four companies in 2013 and one company in 2008 and 2009.

Atlanta-based immigration attorney Charles Kuck told TPM it will be interesting to see if and how Trump’s companies are affected by his administration’s changes.

Kuck, the immigration attorney, said that the high percentage of approval rates the Trump Organization got on its visas aren’t unusual for a larger company that has received temporary worker visas in past years. He said the real interesting data will be from the last H2B application period, during the program’s recent struggles.

“They get 100 percent this year, then either they’re really lucky and they have great lawyers or there is something bad going on,” Kuck said.

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