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 Castro Dems brush off unemployment rate, say Hispanics will reject Trump in 2020 Lawmakers renew push to create American Latino Smithsonian museum Joaquin Castro won't run for Senate in Texas MORE (D-Texas) and signed by Reps. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoOvernight Energy: Dems press Interior chief to embrace climate action | Lawmakers at odds on how to regulate chemicals in water | Warren releases climate plan for military Overnight Defense: Lawmakers on edge over Iran tensions | Questions rise after State pulls personnel from Iraq | Senators demand briefing | House panel advances 0B Pentagon spending bill | Warren offers plan on climate threats to military House Dems unveil bill to limit Pentagon's ability to transfer military construction dollars MORE (D-Ariz.), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralDems charge ahead on immigration Hispanic Caucus asks for meeting with top immigration official New Zealand mosque killings raise fears among US Muslims MORE (D-N.Y.), and Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarOvernight Energy: Dems press Interior chief to embrace climate action | Lawmakers at odds on how to regulate chemicals in water | Warren releases climate plan for military Warren releases plan to tackle climate change threats to military Top Dem money man puts muscle behind Latino mobilization 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 TrumpNew financial disclosure forms provide glimpses of Trump's wealth De Blasio blasts Trump as he launches 2020 bid: 'Every New Yorker knows he's a con artist' Trump rips de Blasio 2020 bid: 'He is a JOKE' 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.”