This week, the Trump administration defied its "America First" rhetoric with a policy change that would make it easier for companies to hire guest workers from foreign countries. The Trump Organization is already poised to benefit from it.
On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security raised the cap on H-2B visas for foreign guest workers from 66,000 visas per year to 81,000.
On Thursday — just three days later — Trump's properties told the Department of Labor that they wanted approval to hire 76 guest workers using those visas.
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The policy change was surprising. Trump has criticized other guest-worker programs for supposedly taking away jobs from Americans. He has resisted calls from the tech industry to expand the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers. He hasn't increased visas in the H-2A program for seasonal farmworkers, even though the agriculture industry has lobbied for it. He even delayed the launch of a startup visa program that Obama created to help foreign tech entrepreneurs start businesses in the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security said the visa cap was lifted to help American companies "suffering irreparable harm" because they can't find enough American workers to fill temporary jobs at hotels, ski resorts, and landscaping companies.
Some of those companies are Trump's. For years, his golf clubs and resorts on the East Coast have relied on hiring foreign workers to serve patrons during the summer months (in New York) and the winter months (in Florida).
On Thursday, the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, said it wanted to hire 15 housekeepers for $10.33 an hour; 20 cooks for $13.34 an hour; and 35 servers for $11.88 an hour. The Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, was asking for six cooks to hire for $13.34 per hour. These requests are published in a database updated by the Department of Labor.
The visa policy change was an example of one way the Trump administration can shape policy and the Trump Organization can profit — whether or not that's what they intended to do. The visa cap was lifted with permission from Congress, after a change to the program that would make it more difficult for employers to bring in as many guest workers as they used to. But because Trump has refused to divest himself from his businesses, he will end up profiting from decisions his government makes.