Friday, March 11, 2016

Model's Lawsuit Highlights Trump's Continued Use (Abuse?) of Immigration Laws to Hire Foreign Workers Over Americans

Trump's trump card in the race for the GOP nomination has been immigration.  But as been shown before, Trump has reversed his previous pre-candidate position on that issue and has, apparently, even recently told the New York Times editorial plan that his position supporting building the wall and deporting 11 million illegals would be just the opening salvo in a lengthy negotiation. Of course we don't know for sure what Trump said because he refuses to ask that the Times release the video of his interview, disingenuously claiming that because it was "off the record" it would violate the right of the journalists.  No "off the record" is protection given to a source who requests it, not the journalists, and a source can always change his mind.
Alexia Palmer

As part of Trump's immigration position he has said he would eliminate the H-1B program.  But the modeling agency Trump owns had no problem not only using the H-1B program, but apparently violating the terms of that program.  ABC news reports:
A Jamaican-born fashion model is taking on Donald Trump, saying the modeling agency owned by the presidential candidate lured her to New York to work at age 17 with the promise of riches and fame and then treated her “like a slave.”
The model, Alexia Palmer, said in a lawsuit against the agency that she received only $3,880 plus cash advances totaling $1,100 over a three year period, even though Trump Model Management filed immigration documents to obtain a special work visa, called an H-1B, for Palmer, certifying she would work “full-time” and earn $75,000 a year.
“That’s what slavery people do,” Palmer told ABC News. “You work and don’t get no money.” The agency took 80 percent of her earnings as expenses and fees but only found her 21 shoots over three years. And under the terms of her visa, she could not work anywhere else if she wanted to stay in the U.S.
Trump's lawyers are currently seeking dismissal of Palmer's suit, including on the basis that private citizens can't enforce immigration laws via private civil suits.  While the "no private cause of action" theory might prevail that does not mean that Trump did not violate the H-1B visa law with respect to Palmer - it is just that Palmer should complain to government rather than file a private lawsuit.

That Palmer's lawsuit might have merit is buttressed by Trump's continued alleged abuse of immigration laws to employ lower paid foreign workers instead of Americans.  When Trump was found to have illegally employed Polish workers to build the Trump Towers, with those workers getting less than similarly-skilled American workers.  When confronted during the campaign with the fact that many of those workers were sleeping at the construction site, undoubtedly because the poor wages Trump paid didn't allow them to afford housing in New York City, Trump replied that it was common practice for construction workers to sleep at a job site.

Trump notes that was 36 years ago.  But the fact is Trump continues to bend if not break federal law to hire foreign workers.

The Washington Post reports how Trump used undocumented workers to work on the Old Post Office Pavilion, Trump's $200 million hotel renovation just down the street from the White House in Washington, D.C.   Many of those Central American workers had sneaked across the Mexican-American border and settled in the Washington, DC area to start new lives.

Another one of Trump's companies applied in 2015 to import 70 foreign workers from Romania and other eastern European countries to serve as cooks, wait staff and cleaners to work at the Mar-a-Lago, a luxury resort in Palm Beach, Florida.  Since 2006, the Mar-a-Lago resort has sought to employ 787 foreign workers.  A 2015 analysis of U.S. Labor records reported by the Sunshine State News shows that since 2000Trump’s businesses imported more than 1,100 foreign workers on temporary visas.

Reuters explains the federal program used to hire these temporary foreign workers:
The temporary work visa program through which Trump's companies have sought the greatest numbers of workers, H-2B, brings in mostly workers from Mexico. Mexicans made up more than 80 percent of the 104,993 admissions to the United States on H-2B visas in 2013. The Trump companies have sought at least 850 H-2B visa workers.
The H-2B program, which receives little government oversight, is used by companies in sectors ranging from hospitality to forestry to hire foreign workers for temporary jobs. Companies must prove that the jobs are seasonal - and that they tried and failed to hire Americans.
When asked why 300 local American citizens who applied to the jobs were not hired as required by the H-2B program, Trump said the Americans were "not qualified." 

Trump undoubtedly likes to hire foreign workers through the H-1B and H-2B program as they are essentially captured workers who have to work for his companies or they get booted from the country.   A great Latina server at the Mar-A-Lago, for example, can't go down the street and offer her services to another employer for better wages. So Trump can pay the foreign workers less than if he would have to hire Americans for those jobs.

Apparently Trump's views on immigration are as his view on trade - do as I say, not as I do.


Anonymous said...

Only 11,000,000 illegals proves that you have not been keeping up....and have swallowed the media coverup.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 4:23, what possible relevance is that to the documented Trump hypocrisy on H-1B and H-2B visas?