Federal and state authorities must investigate the serious allegations being made. Pending an investigation, the undocumented workers should be considered for all available legal protection under federal and state law, including U and T visas
Late Friday evening the New York Times reported that two more immigrant women who worked for Trump at the Bedminster Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey were undocumented at the time and that Trump golf course management knew it. The latest allegations, come in the wake of an explosive front page expose in Friday’s New York Times and follow-up report detailing abuse, including, according to the Washington Post, allegations of mistreatment that included physical abuse by a supervisor at the Club.
This brings the number of immigrants alleging illegal employment practices at Bedminster to four undocumented employees, raising serious questions of criminal activity and prohibited employment practices at the Trump Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The allegations contained in these media reports demand a thorough federal and state investigations into the alleged criminal and civil violations of law.
Just Some of the Potential Violations of Criminal and Civil Statutes
- Under federal law, a person who transports, harbors, or conspires to transport or harbor undocumented individuals for commercial gain may be imprisoned for up to 10 years. 8 U.S.C. 1324. Even without commercial gain, the penalty is up to five years in prison. 8 U.S.C. 1324
- In addition to civil penalties (8 U.S.C. 1324A), employers who knowingly hire 10 or undocumented individuals may be subject up to 5 years in prison. 8 U.S.C. 1324
- Those with a pattern and practice of hiring undocumented workers may be subject to civil money penalties and up to 6 months in prison. 8 U.S.C. 1324A
- Document fraud also carries serious penalties, both civil (8 U.S.C. 1324C) and criminal (18 U.S.C. 1546). Those who conceal the forgery of documents for immigration benefits could be imprisoned up to 5 years (8 U.S.C. 1324C).
- Forced Labor (8 U.S.C. 1589): There is up to a 20 year prison sentence for people who employ a person by means of:
- force, threats of force, physical restraint, or threats of physical restraint to that person or another person;
- serious harm or threats of serious harm to that person or another person;
- the abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process; or
- any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that, if that person did not perform such labor or services, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint
- If a person knew or knowingly disregarded the fact that their business engaged in forced labor and financially or otherwise benefited from it, they could be subject to up to 20 years in prison. 8 U.S.C. 1589
David Leopold, Counsel to DHS Watch, Chair of Immigration at Ulmer & Berne and former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association:
The number of undocumented immigrants alleging they were recruited, hired and abused by the Trump organization at the Bedminster Club has grown and is likely growing. These allegations smack of a pattern and practice of criminal activity and civil violations by the Trump organization. The brave women who’ve come forward to seek justice are victims of crime. This demands a thorough, robust and complete investigation by federal authorities and the New Jersey Attorney General’s office. In the meantime the Department of Homeland Security and New Jersey authorities must protect Ms. Morales and the other undocumented workers by providing them legal protection potentially through the issuance of U and T visas and other forms of protection. No one is above the law, including the President of the United States, his family and his businesses.