During the Miami Republican Residential Debate, Donald Trump was asked about his reasons for using foreign workers instead of Americans at his Mar-a-Lago Florida resort and other resorts which he owns. Over the past several years, Trump's resorts have reportedly sponsored at least 300 foreign workers for H-2B "guest worker" visas. The law requires that in order to sponsor a foreign worker for H-2B, the employer must first recruit US workers and then show that none are available.

At the debate, Trump answered that it was very difficult to find US workers who were interested in seasonal jobs, and therefore he had no choice but to bring in foreign workers. How accurate was this statement?

According to a February 26 New York Times article, the Mar-a-Lago resort submitted records to the US Department of Labor, which is responsible for overseeing employer H-2B recruitment activities, showing that since 2010, it had received at least 296 local names for 520 seasonal jobs since 2010. However, according to the same report, the resort only hired 17 of the local applicants, about 6 per cent, according to the Labor Department records.

The Times report explains:

"For anyone not hired, the employer must tell the Labor Department why. Among the reasons Mar-a-Lago gave: that the applicants could not be reached or were not qualified, as Mr. Trump suggested in his recent interview, or that they did not want the jobs."

However, The Times gives actual examples of American workers who claim that they applied for similar jobs at Mar-a-Lago but were refused, even though it also gives one example for an American who turned down a job at the resort because it was seasonal and offered no benefits, something that would support Trump's contention.

The Times also reports that a local recruiting agency met with Mar-a-Lago executives and offered to recruit local workers for 50 positions. However, the resort sent over only just a single job opening request, for which the agency found four applicants, one of whom was hired.

The above is certainly enough to question whether Trump was telling the truth when he stated at the debate that American workers do not want seasonal jobs at his resorts.

The Times report, conceivably, might also raise questions about whether the reasons that Mar-a-Lago gave for not hiring US workers in its H-2B recruitment reports to the US Department of Labor were entirely accurate.

For the full Times article, see:

Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from different parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards.

Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com