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 CastroHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Cummings: Treatment of young migrants is 'government-sponsored child abuse' MORE (D-Texas) and signed by Reps. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoLawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Arizona Democrat: 'To people like Trump I will never be American enough' MORE (D-Ariz.), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Overnight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran House approves defense bill after adding liberal sweeteners MORE (D-N.Y.), and Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarOcasio-Cortez hits DHS chief for 'images of my violent rape' in Facebook group Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Ocasio-Cortez defends being sworn in at hearing on conditions for migrants 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 TrumpEric Trump: '95 percent of this country' is behind Trump's message Trump Jr. blasts reports of Kushner feud: 'More fake news bulls---' Chicago mayor says waitress crossed 'the line' by spitting on Eric Trump 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.”