The back-breaking jobs involve picking grapes, tending vines and other menial work at Eric’s sprawling Trump Vineyard Estates in Charlottesville, Va.
Eric’s predicament highlight’s the fallacy of his father’s immigration policy. Federal agents are furiously rounding up illegal immigrants while simultaneously making it more difficult to enter the United States legally.
Trump’s draconian policy was a cornerstone of his campaign. But what he didn’t tell voters is now being showcased down on Eric’s farm and on farms all over the country.
“It’s difficult to find people,” Libby Whitely told the Daily Progress newspaper. She’s an attorney who has worked with Trump Winery to find workers through the government’s controversial H-2A program.
It allows U.S. businesses to petition to bring in workers from overseas when they can’t find U.S. citizens who are willing to take the jobs.
U.S. Employers must apply at the U.S. Department of Labor to recruit workers from overseas, usually Third World countries in South America, Africa and the Middle East.
In Virginia, state law requires employers to pay imported workers a minimum of $10.72 an hour and provide them with decent housing and transportation if they leave their homes for more than a day to work.
Trump at least had the benefit of widespread publicity when he sought to hire six workers last year.
“Guess how many applicants we had? 13,” she said. “And they were all from places like the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria.
“We did not have one American worker apply,” she said.
This year, the vineyard wants to hire 29 workers from overseas.
The H-2A program is controversial, not only because many employers abuse it, but also because it’s one of the primary conduits of illegal immigrants in the United States. They typically overstay their temporary visas.
Trump Vineyard Estates is a case study of the potential disruption agriculture, construction, leisure and hospitality industries face as as the pool of entry-level workers dries up under the Trump administration’s immigration policy
In 2012, the most recent figures available, 6.8 million illegal immigrants were working in the country, or about 5.6 percent of all employed people. Subtracting them from the economy would cost the private sector as much as $663 billion, according to one economic think tank.
Donald Trump has routinely employed illegal immigrants at his own properties.
Deporting all of the estimated 11.8 million illegal immigrants, as Trump has promised to do in two years, would cost the government as much as $600 billion and shrink the national economy by $1 trillion, according to estimates.
Trump’s plan to create a special law enforcement force will turn the nation into a Gestapo-like police state as they raid homes and businesses to round up illegal immigrants.
Although the program is supposed to target criminals, numerous cases have already surfaced of families being torn apart and long-time, law-abiding residents being expelled.