It seems that the president who rails against undocumented immigrants and has promised to bring jobs back to American citizens was not only employing undocumented people at his businesses, but allegedly using their undocumented status to exploit them for cheaper labor. And in some cases, totally free labor.
The undocumented immigrants who worked at Trump’s Westchester, NY country club say they were sometimes asked to work extra hours without pay, according to the Washington Post. They referred to this unpaid labor as “side work.”
“It was that way with all the managers: Many of them told us, ‘Just clock out and then stay and do the side work,’” Jose Gabriel Juarez, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who worked at the club for ten years, told the Post. “There was a lot of side work.”
“I had to punch out and keep working,” Juan Pablo Morejon, a former dishwasher at the club and Ecuadorian citizen, told the Post. “When you left, they paid you eight hours, even if you worked 12 or 13 hours.”
New York’s attorney general Letitia James is now investigating these allegations of wage theft, and has interviewed over two dozen former Trump employees.
“They were focused on the payments,” Gabriel Sedano, who worked at the club in maintenance for 14 years, told the Post regarding his interviews with prosecutors. “The days they paid us. The extra hours they didn’t pay us. The tips.”
The Post wrote that many of the former employees who spoke to prosecutors were among those fired by the club earlier this year. Those workers had often been employed at the club for more than a decade. In January, the organization said it would start using a federal service called E-Verify to check if applicants are allowed to work in the U.S.
The Trump Organization denied the allegations of wage theft.
“The Trump Organization has extensive policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with all wage and hour laws,” spokeswoman Kimberly Benza told the Post. “This story is total nonsense and nothing more than unsubstantiated allegations from illegal immigrants who unlawfully submitted fake identification in an effort to obtain employment.”
But one former Westchester manager told the Post that the company was well aware of their employees undocumented status, and pushed to continually cut overtime pay.
“There was a conscious effort to pay less wages, because they knew about the lack of documents,” the former manager added. “You know, where are they going to go?”
The Trump Organization has a long history of employing undocumented workers. One of them, Victorina Morales, was a congressional guest at this year’s State of the Union after she came forward to publicly tell her story about working for Trump.
You can watch a video of Morales discussing her time as a Trump employee below.
Read the rest of the story over at the Post.