Many people who voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election are now coming to regret that choice. His populist message excited many people, but his policies have proven to hurt those who supported him most. He ran on the promise that he would stop illegal immigration, but since he took the oath of office, he has also drastically cut legal immigration. Those cuts have damaged small businesses.
One such business is Devine Creations Landscaping, which is owned by Eddie Devine. Devine voted for Trump, a decision he regrets. Devine said, “I feel like I’ve been tricked by the devil,” he added, “I feel so stupid.”
Devine is unable to run his business without seasonal workers, mostly from Guatemala. He depends on the U.S. Labor Department’s H-2B “guest worker” program. Hiring workers for a few months from Guatemala costs Devine $18,000 in fees and expenses. He pays the workers the same wages he would pay American workers. Despite the added cost, Devine says his business depends on this labor from across the border.
Devine explains that he cannot find enough drug free American labor to serve his customer’s needs. The Trump administration has cut H-2B visas. Those cuts are proving extremely detrimental to small businesses nationwide.
Small businesses cannot find Americans to fill hard labor positions. Ken Monin owns Monin Construction. He said, “We live and die by these visas.” He went on, “Last year we about went bankrupt. The workers we were supposed to get in March didn’t show up until August because they couldn’t get visas.”
Monin continued, “Americans don’t want most of these jobs. I’ve been in this business 20 years. It’s hard, hot work.” Monin pays his workers $17 an hour.
As for Devine, he lost a $100,000 account because he did not have enough workers to do the work for the customer because of cuts to H-2B visas.
Devine notes the hypocrisy recognizing that Trump properties in both Florida and New York have used 144 H-2B workers since 2016. He says, “I want to know why it’s OK for him to get his workers, but supporters like me don’t get theirs.”
Devine does not believe the cuts to H-2B visas have anything to do with immigration policy as workers with the visas come for seasonal work and return to their home countries. “I think there’s a war on brown people,” Devine said.