Friday, February 26, 2016
In recent days, Donald Trump has been attacked on the immigration front. The attacks have focused not on his strident immigration enforcement positions, however. They instead have focused whether, as a entrepreneur, he practices what he preaches.
In a Republican presidential debate last night, Marco Rubio went after Trump on the hiring of undocumented Polish workers many years ago. According to PolitiFact, between 1979 and 1980, Trump hired a contractor to demolish an old building in Manhattan to make way for Trump Tower. To meet a tight deadline, the contractor brought on 200 undocumented laborers from Poland dubbed the "Polish Brigade." The Polish employees were off-the-books, working 12-hour shifts seven days a week for $4 to $5 an hour, with no overtime. Some workers were never paid what they were owed. In 1983, union members sued a union leader, Trump and, the contractor for pension and welfare funds lost by the hiring of the Polish workers. The plaintiffs alleged that Trump owed the union pension fund $1 million. Trump blamed the violations on the contractor and denied knowing that the Polish workers were undocumented.
In the past, the hiring of undocumented workers has been the death knell of a cabinet nomination. Remember Zoe Baird's scuttled nomination for Attorney General in the Clinton administration?
And, there is a New York Times report yesterday a Trump resort's alleged preference for the hiring of foreign workers over domestic workers. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida is the resort.
According to the story,
"Since 2010, nearly 300 United States residents have applied or been referred for jobs as waiters, waitresses, cooks and housekeepers there. But according to federal records, only 17 have been hired. In all but a handful of cases, Mar-a-Lago sought to fill the jobs with hundreds of foreign guest workers from Romania and other countries. . . . [H]e has . . . pursued more than 500 visas for foreign workers at Mar-a-Lago since 2010, according to the United States Department of Labor, while hundreds of domestic applicants failed to get the same jobs."
Trump's campaign website pledges to protect U.S. citizen workers:
Put American Workers First
Decades of disastrous trade deals and immigration policies have destroyed our middle class. Today, nearly 40% of black teenagers are unemployed. Nearly 30% of Hispanic teenagers are unemployed. For black Americans without high school diplomas, the bottom has fallen out: more than 70% were employed in 1960, compared to less than 40% in 2000. Across the economy, the percentage of adults in the labor force has collapsed to a level not experienced in generations. As CBS news wrote in a piece entitled “America’s incredible shrinking middle class”: “If the middle-class is the economic backbone of America, then the country is developing osteoporosis.”
The influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans – including immigrants themselves and their children – to earn a middle class wage. Nearly half of all immigrants and their US-born children currently live in or near poverty, including more than 60 percent of Hispanic immigrants. Every year, we voluntarily admit another 2 million new immigrants, guest workers, refugees, and dependents, growing our existing all-time historic record population of 42 million immigrants. We need to control the admission of new low-earning workers in order to: help wages grow, get teenagers back to work, aid minorities’ rise into the middle class, help schools and communities falling behind, and to ensure our immigrant members of the national family become part of the American dream.
Additionally, we need to stop giving legal immigrant visas to people bent on causing us harm. From the 9/11 hijackers, to the Boston Bombers, and many others, our immigration system is being used to attack us. The President of the immigration caseworkers union declared in a statement on ISIS: “We've become the visa clearinghouse for the world.”