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 CastroJulián Castro endorses Rep. Cuellar's primary opponent in Texas Harris, Castro introduce resolution condemning Trump aide Stephen Miller As Mexico abuses migrants under Trump's orders, where is Congress? MORE (D-Texas) and signed by Reps. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoOne lawmaker gets engaged, another married around Valentine's Day Stage production 'Americano!' tells the life and struggles of a 'Dreamer' Democratic lawmaker says Trump 'doesn't have full command' on Iran MORE (D-Ariz.), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralDemocrats ramp up calls for war powers vote after Iran strike Democrats vow court victories won't slow impeachment timeline Overnight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite MORE (D-N.Y.), and Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarDemocrats call for Twitter, Facebook to take down Pelosi video posted by Trump El Paso Walmart shooting suspect charged under federal hate crime law The Hill's Morning Report - Icy moments between Trump, Pelosi mark national address 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 TrumpHouse Democrats question Secret Service on payments to Trump properties Trump hotels charge Secret Service up to 0 per night while protecting him: report Beach Boys's Brian Wilson asks fans to boycott concert at hunting event featuring Donald Trump Jr. 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.”