Trump: I needed foreign workers to do the part-time jobs Americans won't do

Last night at the debate he said jobs at his Palm Beach country club are seasonal, typically running only 60 to 90 days. After the debate he told CNN that they run four or five months. Setting that aside, along with the fact that we’re in a weird place politically when Marco Rubio is on offense about public indignation over foreign labor, is it true that Americans would rather be unemployed than work part-time? Not according to the local temp office that spoke to the Times for its story about Trump’s hiring practices yesterday:

In Palm Beach County, Tom Veenstra, senior director of support services at CareerSource, a job placement service, took issue with Mr. Trump’s contention that he could not staff his clubs with locals. “We have hundreds of qualified applicants for jobs like those,” he said.

After a report by Reuters in July about Mr. Trump’s use of guest workers, executives from Mar-a-Lago met with recruiters from Mr. Veenstra’s agency, promising to request local workers for 50 positions.

But Mar-a-Lago sent over just a single job request, for a banquet server. Mr. Veenstra said CareerSource referred four applicants to the club, and one of them got the job.

Since then, Mr. Veenstra said, “we haven’t received any other job orders.”

Per the Times, 296 locals either applied or were referred for more than 500 seasonal jobs at Mar-a-Lago. Just 17 were hired. A few who weren’t told the Times they were holding out for permanent jobs with benefits but one claimed she was eager for a position and never heard back. Trump says that’s because many applicants aren’t qualified for the positions. Not qualified to be … waiters and housekeepers? What sort of hole would you need to have in your education to make you unfit to deliver drinks? I thought this guy loves the “poorly educated.” Did he mean Mexico’s poorly educated?

The man to read this morning about seasonal work at Trump’s club is David Seminara, who’s studied H-2B visas for unskilled foreign workers. He went looking for data on Trump’s club. Quote:

In petitioning for workers, employers are supposed to prove that their hiring need is “seasonal” and “temporary”, yet Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club has sought to import guest workers year after year, including right now. (Their most recent petition was filed in July 2015 and the workers are on contract at the resort until May 31, 2016.)

Trump maintained at the debate on Thursday night that the jobs he had filled with guest workers were hard to fill because they were only for 90 or 120 days. But in fact, the duration of the petitions was never just three months. The work period for Mar-a-Lago’s guest workers, according to the petitions, is nearly always October 1 to May 31, which is 8 months. On other occasions, his company petitioned for even longer periods. For example, in 2009, the Trump National Golf Club petitioned for guest workers for the period January 26 through November 20.

This went on during the height of the recession too, when Americans were more desperate for work than they are now. I’ll bet you could have found some Palm Beachers circa 2009 willing to accept a permanent, if seasonal, position that runs for two-thirds of the year, but then that might have warranted paying benefits and that would have made cheap labor more expensive. Voila: H-2B visas to the rescue. Seminara can’t even be sure that Trump’s use of H-2B workers is limited to the numbers that the Times found since many businesses use shell companies or “body shops,” in which a third party applies for a bunch of foreign workers and then distributes them to other businesses that need them.

None of this matters to anyone who’s leaning Trump, right? Right. Just checking.

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