As President Donald Trump was battling Congress for $5.7 billion to fund his proposed border wall — the hallmark of his hardline immigration policies — one of his golf courses quietly terminated about a dozen of its employees due to their status as undocumented immigrants.
The Washington Post reported that on January 18, Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York fired the employees after the Trump Organization conducted an audit of immigration documents and realized their papers were not authentic.
“Unfortunately, this means the club must end its employment relationship with you today,” the Trump executive said, according to a recording that one worker made of her firing.
The firings at the New York golf club — which workers said eliminated about half of the club’s wintertime staff — follow a story in the New York Times last year that featured an undocumented worker at another Trump club in Bedminster, N.J. After that story, Trump’s company fired undocumented workers at the Bedminster club, according to former workers there.
Eric Trump, who runs the Trump Organization’s day-to-day operations with his brother, Donald Trump Jr., since President Trump took office, told The Post that the company is “making a broad effort to identify any employee who has given false and fraudulent documents to unlawfully gain employment” — followed by immediate terminations for any employee who is found to be undocumented.
Eric Trump did not respond to specific questions about how many undocumented workers had been fired at other Trump properties and whether the company had, in the past, made similar audits of its employees’ immigration paperwork. He also did not answer whether executives had previously been aware that they employed undocumented workers.
However, attorney Anibal Romero, who represents immigrants from both the New Jersey and New York golf courses, said the Trump Organization has shown “a pattern and practice of hiring undocumented immigrants.”
This seemed to be confirmed by two former managers who spoke with The Post:
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.
Though some employees also insisted that management was aware of their immigration status, they indicated that it wasn’t a problem until recently.
Another employee — Jesus Lira, a banquet chef from Mexico — said that, on two occasions in 2008, an accountant at the Trump club rejected his fake documents and told him to go obtain better ones.
“She said, ‘I can’t accept this, go back and tell them to do a better job,’ ” Lira recalled. He said he returned to Queens a third time and found documents that the club accepted. Eric Trump did not respond to a question about Lira’s account.