“Thanks to his labor and that of other immigrants, the Trump brand produces 40,000 cases of wine a year.”
In a new piece for Univision (English & Spanish), Claudia Uceda reveals the story of the undocumented immigrants whose hard work produces Trump’s award winning wines in Charlottesville, Virginia. In yet another stunning, yet unsurprising, display of hypocrisy it’s clear President Trump holds himself above the same laws he so vehemently pushes when he rails against Latino immigrants on an almost daily basis. In the case of Trump winery workers, not only were unauthorized workers hired, they were singled out and forced to work overtime without pay. The New York Attorney General has launched an investigation into these practices concerning Trump golf properties in New York.
This Sunday, Univision’s Aqui y Ahora will take a deeper dive into the conditions these Virginia workers face, and how the Trump organization continues to benefit from the labor of undocumented workers while exploiting them and subjecting them to poor working conditions. All the while, the President prepares for an ugly 2020 reelection campaign where attacking immigration will be his central, unrelenting theme.
The piece is excerpted below and available in full here.
The number of Hispanic immigrants who claim to have worked without legal documents for the Trump Organization continues to grow.
Univision News interviewed seven undocumented employees who claim to have worked producing Trump wine in the state of Virginia, putting in long hours from sunrise to sunset, without overtime pay.
“I’ve been here for six or five years,” said one of the workers who claims he was hired after presenting false documents that were not verified.
The immigrant, who asked not to be identified to avoid reprisals, took Univision on a tour of the vineyard, and proudly showed the field where he works every day.
Thanks to his labor and that of other immigrants, the Trump brand produces 40,000 cases of wine a year.
The employer said that when he was hired he presented a fake Social Security card. According to him, during the years he worked at the vineyard the company never bothered to confirm the authenticity of his documents.
“They’ve never asked me for anything, otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” he added.
Another worker from the same vineyard, who also asked to remain anonymous in order to avoid reprisals, thinks the company pretends not to know.
“Yes, they know you are undocumented, because if you look (closely) at the Social Security papers that are handed to them, they’re false,” he said. “The process is simple. They give you your application, and they find a way for you to fill it out,” he added.
…In the grounds of the vineyard there is a luxury hotel which also partly relies on undocumented workers, according to two former Honduran employees who worked there. Marily Peña recalls that in 2015, when she was a single mother, she says bought false documents in order to look for a job at the property of the then tycoon and presidential candidate Donald Trump.
…Martha Peña, Marlly’s cousin, says she came in at seven in the morning and didn’t have a departure time.
“At the hotel the work was risky… we didn’t have a trolley to transport the sheets or the chemicals to the rooms. We had to carry everything in our arms. The elevator didn’t work,” said a man who previously worked in agriculture, picking strawberries.
Their cousin Marlly says they had more and more chores.
“My supervisor wanted me to clean her personal room, the kitchen, do her laundry and clean the gym. I didn’t have the strength anymore,” Marlly said.
It went on largely unknown, according to Martha, because it wasn’t reported for fear of losing a job, or being deported.
“I think people are tired of seeing so much mistreatment and so much abuse, one have to say what’s going on because he could be re-elected,” she added.
…The workers were left with a bitter taste of the vineyard. All of the former employees interviewed by Univision have resigned not because of problems related to their immigration status, but because they say they no longer could put up with the work conditions.
“God help me,” Marlly said. “I don’t know how I’m going to make it, but I’m not going back there.
More coverage of the employment of unauthorized workers and their exploitation within the Trump Organization’s multi-state network of businesses here.