As President Donald Trump continues to promote his agenda of restoring American jobs, the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York, is seeking permission to bring foreign workers to serve as waiters and waitresses, according to a petition posted by the Department of Labor on Wednesday.
The workers are being sought under the federal H-2 visa program, which permits American employers to hire foreign laborers under temporary work visas as long as no qualified US workers want the jobs. The tony, private club, currently controlled by the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, is located just 35 miles from New York City and its vast labor market. The petition to the Labor department effectively attests that there are no qualified American workers who want the jobs. The jobs pay $14.08 an hour. That’s a few dollars an hour higher than the average wage for waiters in the surrounding area. The posting also mentions the possibility of overtime, at $21.12, though it is not guaranteed.
No one from the golf course or the White House immediately responded to a request for comment Wednesday.
Businesses owned by President Trump or bearing his name have been big users of the controversial H-2 program in the past, seeking to hire at least 294 foreign guest workers since he launched his presidential campaign. Many work as servers and house cleaners at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida estate that has recently been termed the winter White House. Despite his focus on restoring American jobs, Trump has also maintained that it is “almost impossible” to find qualified Americans who want temporary jobs in the service industry such as those available at many of his clubs and resorts that rely on the visa program.
The waitstaff jobs are seasonal, with work beginning May 22 and ending Oct. 31. Three months prior experience is required. Housing is optionally provided, at a cost of up to $15.55 a week.
Since 2003, more than 100,000 foreigners have been brought in under the H-2 program each year.
Last fall, a special envoy from the United Nations said the federal guest worker program puts workers at risk of exploitation and even trafficking. A BuzzFeed News investigation in 2015 found that H-2 workers were often exploited, and sometimes raped or beaten. BuzzFeed News also found that many Americans were denied jobs in favor of guest workers. Trump companies have not been accused of abusing H-2 workers.
The Westchester golf club also sought temporary workers last year. That application stated that club members “require excellence in the Club’s services and facilities. However, the demographic makeup of the Westchester, NY area shows that the temporary workforce required to staff the many private country clubs, restaurants and hotels is not sufficient.”