A Virginia winery owned by one of the sons of Republican president-elect Donald Trump is seeking to add at least six foreign workers to its staff over the first six months of 2017, and of his father’s presidency.
Eric Trump is seeking the clearance from the U.S. Department of Labor after his father campaigned on a platform of more American jobs, tougher immigration policies, and a call for mass deportations.
Trump Winery is seeking the temporary visas under the government’s H-2A program, which allows American employers to fill seasonal agricultural jobs with foreign workers.
In filing their recent request with labor officials, Trump Winery executives described the work to be performed by the foreign workers as a “variety of manual/equipment operation tasks in a vineyard operation.”
The winery also requested 19 additional visas last spring, a time when then-candidate Trump’s anti-immigration campaign rhetoric was in full force, including his unwavering contention that the federal government should limit immigration to protect American jobs and workers.
The 40-hour, six-day-a-week jobs are slated to pay $10.72 an hour, with overtime rates not being applicable unless mandated by state law.
During his run for the White House, Trump also made the pledge of creating more jobs here in the U.S. another major component of his platform. He repeatedly vowed to be hard on companies that elect to move operations and plants out of the U.S., thereby cutting American jobs and workers.
In his crisscross of the country since his upset win over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, he has also continued to push a “buy American” and “hire American” agenda at many of his gatherings.
Eric Trump, who has often campaigned on his father’s behalf, has also echoed that theme.
“We’re losing all of our jobs, people are working harder, we’re being taxed more, all of our jobs are going overseas,” he told Fox News in a recent interview. “It’s just a very, very sad thing.”
Back in In July, Donald Trump’s Florida golf resort Mar-a-lago also requested dozens of H-2B visas for housekeepers, waiters, and cooks.
Federal ethics experts have warned that President-elect Trump, who is listed as a senior executive of the Virginia vineyard, is creating a major conflict of interest by pushing for such allowances.
“This is a powerful example of why Donald Trump needs to make a definitive break, not just with his operational interests but his ownership interests, by appointing an independent trustee to liquidate all that,” said Norm Eisen, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who was chief White House ethics lawyer for President Obama from 2009 to 2011.
Labor Department records show that for the 172,654 agricultural jobs in federal fiscal 2016, at least 8,800 temporary visas were requested. The Trump vineyard also applied for 19 temporary visas for foreign workers two years straight, commencing in 2014.
Since 2013, Donald Trump has sought to hire at least 513 workers for businesses and properties he owns all over the country, including his massive Palm Beach estate.
At a campaign event early this year, Trump actually boasted about being the owner of the Virginia winery and not just the holder of a senior executive post.
“I own it 100 percent, no mortgage, no debt,” he said back then, though the winery website now states the venue is “not owned, managed or affiliated with Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization, or any of their affiliates.”
Meanwhile, Eric Trump has joined all of the Trump children in being a central member of his father’s transition team, sitting in on a slew of high-stake meetings that his father has held with senior-level technology leaders and others.
[Featured Image by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images]