Trump Vineyards Applies to Hire Foreign Workers, Can’t Find Americans for the Job

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By Emily Zanotti | 1:42 pm, December 23, 2016

Donald Trump, who campaigned on building a wall to keep out immigrants, wants a few foreign horticulturalists to help prune the grape leaves on his thousand-acre Virginia vineyard. Trump Winery, managed by Trump’s son Eric, applied to the Labor Department this week, asking for 6 H-2B visas for temporary foreign workers.

H-2B visas are for “temporary guest workers,” usually needed to fill short-term jobs in agriculture and hospitality. The wine operation, run by Trump’s son Eric, says that it needs help managing its crop—and that Americans have no interest in the job, which pays $10.72 an hour, requires three-months experience, and demands 40 hours a week spread over six days.

It’s a believable, if ironic excuse; based on how many entertainers have refused to perform for Trump’s inauguration, it’s entirely possible that the Trump vineyards are stocked with jobs Americans just won’t do, and not because they lack expertise.

And since starting his Presidential campaign back in September of 2015, Trump’s companies have applied to the Department of Labor for 263 guest worker visas, mostly for his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, saying they’re desperate to fill key roles—even if the candidate himself campaigned on booting foreign workers out.

To make matters worse, the application seems to mean that Eric Trump, who manages the vineyard (his father still claims to own it, though the winery’s website says he doesn’t) is caught in the first official conflict of interest caused by the Trump family, following dad’s election.

Eric is on Donald Trump’s transition team, and could easily grease the wheels at the Labor Department to approve his own request, if it doesn’t clear bureaucratic hurdles before President Obama leaves office.

That might help explain why, late Thursday evening, Eric Trump announced that he’d be folding his children’s cancer charity, closing its bank accounts, and ending its online auctions and internship program.

Even though Eric Trump could simply step away from the Foundation and leave it to be run by someone else while he works in the White House, he told the Washington Post that he personally chose to cease operations and hadn’t considered other options.

His dad seemed to take Eric’s decision as a personal affront—clearly not as dedicated as his son to removing any appearance of conflict.

Trump himself has yet to announce how he will separate from his corporate work. Luckily for him, though, his foundation, the Trump Foundation, is now prohibited from soliciting funds by the state of New York, so at least halting his charitable efforts won’t be a problem.

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