Hispanic Caucus demands probe into Trump Organization hiring undocumented workers

Hispanic Caucus demands probe into Trump Organization hiring undocumented workers
© Stefani Reynolds

Top members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general and the FBI to investigate the Trump Organization's hiring of workers without legal immigration status and allegations of mistreatment.

A letter spearheaded by Caucus Chairman Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroRNC reports record .5 million fundraising haul for August Hispanic Democrats announce 'Latina Prosperity Principles' It's legal to tweet the names of all of Trump's donors, but it's probably not a good idea MORE (D-Texas) and signed by Reps. Ruben GallegoRuben Gallego2020 Democrats raise alarm about China's intellectual property theft Harris picks up endorsement from influential lawmaker as support slips Democratic lawmaker: Russia, China benefitting from continued US troop presence in Afghanistan MORE (D-Ariz.), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralHouse Democrats blur lines on support for impeachment Congressional Hispanic Caucus calls for answers on Mississippi ICE raids Congressional Hispanic Caucus members call for diversity within the Fed MORE (D-N.Y.), and Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarGun epidemic is personal for lawmakers touched by violence House holds moment of silence for El Paso victims House Republicans want details on Democrats' trips to Mexico MORE (D-Texas) was sent to DHS acting Inspector General John V. Kelly and FBI Director Christopher Wray making the request.

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The lawmakers highlighted that former employees have alleged the organization was unlawfully recruiting and exploiting immigrants without legal status.

“Many of the Trump Organization employees have stepped forward to recount how the Trump Organization setup a pipeline to systematically obtain cheap immigrant labor and hired undocumented immigrants,” they wrote.

“In fact, some of the undocumented workers have stated that the Trump Organization helped them procure the fraudulent documents. Further, many of these workers have described a hostile work environment, including a culture of coercion, mistreatment, and instances of physical abuse.”

They also asked that potential witnesses be protected during the investigation, saying that “any enforcement action by the Department of Homeland Security against these employees could be an obstruction of justice.”

The group said they met with many of the workers and their lawyer earlier this year and were alarmed by what they learned about their working conditions.

There has been new scrutiny on the Trump Organization after reports in recent weeks that potentially dozens of workers at the company's properties have been fired. The reports have raised questions about the company's practices and whether its hiring of undocumented workers was more widespread than believed.

A report in The New York Times in December reported that undocumented workers were at a property in New Jersey. The company conducted a review and has since fired such workers at a number of properties. Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Senior HUD official reprimanded for making political statements on the job Democrats introduce bill to block taxpayer-funded spending at Trump properties MORE, the president's son and an executive at the Trump Organization, confirmed the firings to The Washington Post in February.

The company has defended its hiring practices in the past.

“We have tens of thousands of employees across our properties and have very strict hiring practices,” the Trump Organization said last year.

The lawmakers also questioned why officials are not already looking into the matter.

“We find it alarming that despite multiple news articles, reports, and statements by former workers, and even Congressional requests from Senator [Bob] Menendez [(D-N.J.)] and Congressman [Raul] Grijalva [(D-Ariz.)] for an investigation there currently does not seem to be any criminal or civil investigations into the Trump Organization,” they continued.

The Democratic lawmakers concluded their letter by saying that no one, “including the President of the United States and his company,” is above the law. And they also called for a probe into “the apparent failure of the Department of Homeland Security to initiate an investigation into the Trump Organization.”