Go ahead and raise your eyebrows now: Trump Winery wants to add six new immigrant laborers to its staff. Though the Virginia-based winery is owned and operated by Donald Trump’s son Eric, the move is a textbook example of the hypocrisy and self-serving dealings of the Trump campaign.
ABC News reports that the company filed documents with the U.S. Department of Labor on Monday requesting temporary worker visas under the H2-A program. These visas commonly allow immigrants to fill seasonal agriculture jobs. According to ABC News, Trump Winery — which produces about 40,000 cases of wine each year — has requested visas for temporary immigrant workers every year since 2014. This year’s workers will be paid $10.72 per hour; they are ineligible for overtime.
Meanwhile, President-elect Donald Trump ran a 17-month-long campaign that promised to penalize American companies that move production (and therefore jobs) overseas and heralded chants to “hire American.” The Trump clan seems unfazed by this obvious duplicity; they did not respond to requests for comment from ABC News.
At a presidential debate in March, when asked why he hires foreign workers at Mar-a-Lago, his private Palm Beach club, Trump said it is “very, very hard to get people.” The Trump organization hired additional immigrant workers for Mar-a-Lago earlier this month to help staff up for the holiday season, according to the Palm Beach Post. Workers at Mar-a-Lago include waiters and cooks for banquets and events.
There are between 1 and 3 million farm workers in the United States during any given time of the year. The Department of Labor estimates that over half are illegal, and that agriculture in the United States depends upon immigrant labor. The USDA has stated that “any potential immigration reform could have significant impacts on the U.S. fruit and vegetable industry.” Sounds like PEOTUS Trump’s promised immigration bans and reforms could also work to cork his winery and challenge his own business operations.
Updated 12/29: This post has been edited to omit a note about Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants.