Florida is a true immigrant melting pot. My grandfather moved to Miami in the 70s and one of the first things he did was learn Spanish (not hard since he was a French immigrant himself).  

President Trump’s always counted on Florida’s electoral votes; that’s why he recently moved his official residence to that state. But a CNN poll shows him behind Biden, 51-38, a real problem for Trump.  

According to pollster Harry Enten: “Trump is behind in a state no Republican has won the presidency without in 96 years.” Much of this is due to COVID-19; a new Quinnipiac study indicates that only 36% of Floridians approve of his handling of school openings. But I also believe his hypocritical stance on immigration in a state full of immigrants may not have helped him either.  

On immigration, our President is duplicitous… no surprise. He hates immigration (especially of people of color) but has married two immigrants.  

caricature of Melania Trump

Pre-Donald, minor-league model Melania had temporary work permits.  So, how did Melania of Slovenia gain entrance and obtain citizenship, short circuiting the usual visa process? David Leopold, past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, stated (Washington Post): “What did she submit? There are a lot of questions about how she procured entry into the United States.”   

Via Donald, she obtained a top immigration attorney and miraculously got “EB-1” status. The EB-1 “Einstein visa” is given to top people in their field who have:  “an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager.” Only .003% of immigrants were accepted that year through this program, including only 4 other people from Slovenia. (WashingtonPost.com)   

In 2006 she became a citizen and her Slovenian parents entered as “permanent residents”. By then Melania was a Trump, not a Knauss. They are now very close to becoming citizens themselves.   

Trump never said it was wrong to bring them over under the “chain migration” provision that he wants to abolish, tweeting: “CHAIN MIGRATION cannot be allowed to be part of any legislation on Immigration!”  It’s funny how that works, isn’t it?  

At a time when our President decries illegal immigrants as “animals”, it is vital to understand how he plays by a different set of rules when it comes to immigration. And, it did not start with Melania.  

Trump Tower, where Trump lived before 2016, was built in 1980 by Polish illegal immigrants. Trump hired a contractor to build the Tower, standard procedure. The contractor hired the illegal immigrants, but per Time magazine: “Trump sought out the Polish workers when he saw them on another job, instigated the creation of the company that paid them and negotiated the hours they would work.”   

To make matters worse, the contractor failed to fully pay the workers. The matter ended up in court, no rarity for Trump related ventures. The Polish workers won the case and were paid $254,523.59 by the contractor.   

But the matter was not yet completely resolved, with their pension fund money still up in the air.  “Finally, in 1998, when the question of whether Trump was the legal employer of the Poles was set to go to a jury trial, Trump settled. No one knows how much he ended up paying to compensate the union pension fund.” (Time

Criminals who “infest our country” is how Trump describes illegal immigrants. If that is true, why did he seek out illegal immigrants to work on his centerpiece Tower? When will he inscribe: “built by an infestation of rapists, criminal and animals” on the front of that Tower?    

Even after his impeachment, Trump’s approval ratings are at an all-time high with his base, especially older white men. When will these supporters come to their senses and say enough is enough? Frankly, despite the polls, I am not optimistic due to obvious voter suppression. The only way Trump will lose in November is if brown and black people in swing states like Florida get out and vote. Only time will tell if that becomes a reality.

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Image Credit: the feature caricature of Melania Trump was created by DonkeyHotey (Flickr/Creative Common).

Jack Bernard

Jack Bernard

Jack A Bernard is a retired SVP with a national healthcare corporation. He was Chair of the Jasper County, Ga Board of Commissioners and Republican Party. He was also on the Board of Health for Jasper County and is currently on the Fayette County BOH. Bernard has over 100 columns published annually, primarily in the South.