The Trump Organization is still employing undocumented workers through its proprietary construction team despite its vowed crackdown on employing undocumented people people earlier this year, Trump construction workers have told the Washington Post.
According to the Post, workers on a traveling construction unit initially ran by Frank Sanzo, later renamed Mobile Payroll Construction, were sometimes undocumented, and if so, were told by Sanzo to go and buy fake Social Security numbers and green cards in New York City.
Two former workers with the crew told the Post that they were undocumented while working for Trump, with one saying that he and other workers once were told to go hide in the woods of a Trump golf course during a labor union visit. A third worker who is still on the crew declined to share his immigration status but told the Post that some members of the crew are undocumented, despite the Trump Organization’s promises to end employment of undocumented workers after reports from last year and earlier this year that Trump still employed undocumented people.
In December, Victorina Morales, a housekeeper at Trump’s Bedminster, NJ, golf club, told the New York Times that she was undocumented, and a second woman, Sandra Diaz, said she was undocumented when she was employed at the club from 2010 to 2013. In the half a year following, the Trump Organization has found and fired dozens of undocumented employees across multiple facilities.
“I don’t know because I don’t run it,” Trump said in July when he was asked if he was confident that his golf courses no longer employed undocumented immigrants. “But I would say this: Probably every club in the United States has that because it seems to be, from what I understand, a way that people did business.”
The organization has said it’s instituting E-Verify, the federal immigration status verifying program, on all of its properties. A spokeswoman for the organization even told the Post that Mobile Payroll Construction is enrolled in E-Verify, though the Post found that the public database didn’t list the company as of its last update on July 1. (We’ve reached out to the White House for comment and will update when and if they respond.)
Sanzo, the man who originally led the construction team and retired in 2014, told the Post that most of his workers were documented, though it appears his wife wasn’t about to let him besmirch the name of Donald J. Trump. From the Post, emphasis mine:
When asked whether he told employees to buy fake documents, Sanzo’s wife, Bernice, interrupted: “How would Frank know where to get that stuff?”
Sanzo added, “They can get them on the street, too.” He did not directly address the question.
During the interview at his home last month, when asked about the legal status of his workers, Sanzo replied: “Most of my guys were legal.”
He was interrupted by his wife. “Do not answer any questions, because it’s going to be misleading,” Bernice Sanzo admonished her husband. She told two Post reporters: “Trump was not involved in that, in the hiring. My husband was.”
“Most of them were legal,” Frank Sanzo said again.
Of course, the Post piece does the heavy lifting of connecting Trump’s continued employment and subsequent financial benefit of undocumented people, all the while speaking negatively with xenophobic and racist rhetoric about undocumented people and other immigrants, and executing two of the largest workplace ICE raids in the past decade.
But to Trump’s supporters—such as Sanzo’s wife, who threw her husband under the bus without hesitation apparently to save Trump a bit of bad press—Trump capitalizing on the backs of undocumented workers while doing the most to ruin their lives doesn’t matter. No one is going to punish Trump over this. The Trump Organization won’t face the fines that other companies do for employing undocumented people; more importantly, this won’t affect the inhumane immigration policy coming out of the White House in the slightest.
Despite their bravery, it’s the workers who openly speak to reporters about their experiences as undocumented immigrants who get punished—fired for trying to remind the country that it’s being led by a crook.