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ICYMI: WaPo: “Donald Trump’s demand for a border wall shut down the government. At the same time, his company was firing undocumented workers.”

 

This afternoon, Joshua Partlow and David Fahrenthold at the Washington Post revealed that, in addition to recruiting, providing false documents for, hiring, employing, and exploiting undocumented workers at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, a similar pattern and practice of unlawful behavior has taken place at the Trump National Golf Club Westchester. Watch the video interview here.

As the duo report:

The firings highlight a stark tension between Trump’s public stance on immigration and the private conduct of Trump’s business.

In public, Trump has argued that undocumented immigrants have harmed American workers by driving down wages. That was part of why Trump demanded a border wall and contemplated declaring a national emergency to get it.

But, in Westchester County, Trump seems to have benefited from the same dynamic he denounces. His undocumented workers said they provided Trump with cheap labor. In return, they got steady work and few questions.

…Cruz, the fired housekeeper, knew what was coming before she went in, because she’d heard from other workers who’d already been fired. She felt like the workers were sitting there “like little lambs, lined up for the slaughterhouse.”

….Cruz said she felt that — from one instant to the next — the Trump Organization had sought to transform her from an employee to a nonentity.

“We’re just working. How can they take our taxes, charge us for this or that, and not give us any rights?” Cruz said. “When they take our taxes, we count as people. Why don’t we count in other things?”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

This report from the Washington Post is a powerful indictment of President Trump’s hypocrisy. He rails against immigrants for political advantage while hiring and exploiting them for financial advantage.

At the same time, the article is an inspiring glimpse into the life of hardworking immigrants who simply want to come out of the shadows. These people are heroic in speaking up against the most powerful man on earth. It is time for all Americans to stop looking away from the 11 million undocumented immigrants who contribute to America every single day – building homes, putting food on our table, taking care of our children – doing tough jobs in virtually every state of our nation.

This report follows the December New York Times revelation of similar unlawful and abusive practices at Bedminster, New Jersey. As a politician, Trump demonizes undocumented immigrant workers. As a business owner, Trump uses and abuses undocumented immigrant workers. This extraordinary hypocrisy fits a larger pattern of lawlessness from the President and his businesses that screams out for a full and fair investigation.

The entire piece is a must read, excerpted below, and available online in full here.

They had spent years on the staff of Donald Trump’s golf club, winning employee-of-the-month awards and receiving glowing letters of recommendation.

Some were trusted enough to hold the keys to Eric Trump’s weekend home. They were experienced enough to know that — when Donald Trump ordered chicken wings — they were to serve him two orders on one plate.

But on Jan. 18, about a dozen employees at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, N.Y., were summoned, one by one, to talk with a human resources executive from Trump headquarters.

During the meetings, they were fired because they are undocumented immigrants, according to interviews with the workers and their attorney. The fired workers are from Latin America.

…“I started to cry,” said Gabriel Sedano, a former maintenance worker from Mexico who was among those fired. He had worked at the club since 2005. “I told them they needed to consider us. I had worked almost 15 years for them in this club, and I’d given the best of myself to this job.”

“I’d never done anything wrong, only work and work,” he added. “They said they didn’t have any comments to make.”

….The firings highlight a stark tension between Trump’s public stance on immigration and the private conduct of Trump’s business.

In public, Trump has argued that undocumented immigrants have harmed American workers by driving down wages. That was part of why Trump demanded a border wall and contemplated declaring a national emergency to get it.

But, in Westchester County, Trump seems to have benefited from the same dynamic he denounces. His undocumented workers said they provided Trump with cheap labor. In return, they got steady work and few questions.

“They said absolutely nothing. They never said, ‘Your social security number is bad’ or ‘Something is wrong,’ ” said Margarita Cruz, a housekeeping employee from Mexico who was fired after eight years at the club. “Nothing. Nothing. Until right now.”

…The Post spoke to two former managers from the club about the employees’ accounts. One former manager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the club’s internal practices, said the club relied on its accounting department to scrutinize the immigration documents and that the department rejected about 20 percent of applicants because of immigration questions.

The other former manager said the broader Trump Organization placed far more emphasis on finding cheap labor than it placed on rooting out undocumented workers. The former manager characterized the attitude at the club as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“It didn’t matter. They didn’t care [about immigration status],’ ” said the former manager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve ties with current Trump executives. “It was, ‘Get the cheapest labor possible.’ ” The former manager said the assumption at the club was that immigration authorities were not likely to target golf clubs for mass raids.

…Cruz, the fired housekeeper, knew what was coming before she went in, because she’d heard from other workers who’d already been fired. She felt like the workers were sitting there “like little lambs, lined up for the slaughterhouse.” She hit the “record” button on her phone before her firing began.

…Cruz told them she was a single mother with two children and asked why she had not been given some warning, so she could look for another job.

“The law says as soon as we know that you do not have authorization that we cannot continue your employment. That’s why,” Rosen said. As Cruz left, Rosen said, “Have a great day.”

Rosen could not be reached for comment.

Afterward, Cruz said she felt that — from one instant to the next — the Trump Organization had sought to transform her from an employee to a nonentity.

“We’re just working. How can they take our taxes, charge us for this or that, and not give us any rights?” Cruz said. “When they take our taxes, we count as people. Why don’t we count in other things?”

She said, “We don’t exist.”