It's an annual rite in Palm Beach. President Trump’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago opens for the winter season, and in preparation, there's the hiring of new staff.
In a serious departure from from messaging about the importance of American workers, the resort has undertaken another annual tradition: requesting the right to hire foreign workers.
Claiming a lack of domestic interest in the dozens of job openings for waiters, cooks, and housekeepers, the president’s operation has petitioned The Department of Labor (DOL) for permission to turn to workers from overseas to fill the nearly 70 staff positions.
This is not an automatic granting of allowance. Labor stipulates applicants first must put forth an effort to seek citizen workers for those positions. Only then will permission for visas be granted.
The ad that appeared in The Palm Beach Post stated, in reference to the service staff, Mar-a-Lago is looking for skilled workers: “3 mos recent & verifiable exp in fine dining/country club” were the requirements, according to the want ad. This raises obvious questions: Do foreign nations really have more "fine dining/country clubs" than we have in America? Would this same hiring requirement be applied to those brought in from other nations?
It seems more than reasonable that some local workers in these fields would be available. These are not jobs in the agrarian labor sector, those with brutal outdoor conditions that are often held up as the kind described as “jobs Americans simply will not do.” They are hiring for country club service roles, and experienced kitchen staff; South Florida’s tourist industry is awash in employees of this caliber.
The ad ran only two times in the paper, the minimum requirement that needed to be met to then qualify for the visa application through the DOL. That the resort was doing the bare minimum to meet the legal threshold before applying for the right to look outside the country for help is more than supposition.
There was even a jobs fair in the West Palm area, with a number of resorts appearing for hiring purposes. The Washington Post contacted organizers of that event and they confirmed Mar-a-Lago did not have any representatives in attendance for recruitment purposes. And this was not an infertile field of prospects.
At the job fair WaPO found a number of people who were willing to be hired for nothing more than the chance to get a foothold inside the illustrious resort and move on to better positions. “I would do anything: make beds, scrub toilets, whatever they need,” said one prospective worker. “That place is the top of the top.”
That kind of enthusiasm does not seem to be the priority for the employer. Despite Mar-a-Lago's owner boasting about the importance of the American worker, his personal country club is placing its focus on those it can draw from across the border.
Brad Slager is a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer who wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.