Veronica Birkenstock seems like a typical Trump Republican. She wants to build the wall, deport undocumented immigrants, and was livid when Kate Steinle’s killer was acquitted. But behind the “America First” rhetoric, her resume contains a bitter irony that complicates her growing political ambitions: Birkenstock makes a living importing cheap foreign labor.
Birkenstock runs Practical Employee Solutions, which facilitates H-2B visas for temporary foreign workers. And she has one very notable client: the Trump International Beach Resort in Miami.
Practical Employee Solutions has filed H-2B visa applications for more than 100 temporary foreign workers to fill positions as maids, waiters, pool attendants, and bartenders at the resort. President Donald Trump makes liberal use of the program for his resorts and golf clubs, including his “winter White House” at Mar-a-Lago, which in July put in applicationsfor 78 new seasonal foreign workers. Trump himself doesn’t own the International Beach Resort, but licenses his name to it. Last year, he brought in between $100,000 and $1 million in income for the resort’s use of the Trump brand, according to his personal financial disclosure statement.
Beyond helping facilitate the temporary work supply for Trump’s resorts, Birkenstock is also a Trump campaign fundraiser who was once listed as a member of the president’s Labor Department transition team.
She is also now running for Congress, having officially declared her candidacy this month in Texas’ 26th Congressional District, where she hopes to unseat veteran Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), one of the House’s most conservative Republicans.
Running to Burgess’ right is a tough sell. To do it, Birkenstock, who did not respond to requests for an interview, has cozied up to big names in Trumpworld, aligned herself with candidates like recently defeated Alabama Republican Roy Moore, and taken a “drain the swamp” approach that emphasizes the incumbent’s 15 years in Washington and Congress’ general ineffectiveness. She says she is “frustrated with the current long-term Representative not getting the job done as promised.”
But she also appears to recognize that her professional record may be a potential liability in a Republican primary. Birkenstock’s campaign website has an entire page devoted to debunking “myths” about H-2B visas, which grant foreigners a temporary stay in the U.S. to work seasonal, non-agricultural jobs.