Amid border wall shutdown, Trump golf club fired undocumented workers, report says

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Amid a partial government shutdown sparked by President Donald Trump's demand for $5.7 billion toward the construction of a barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border, about a dozen Latino workers at a Trump golf club were fired because they were undocumented immigrants, according to a report from The Washington Post

The workers and their attorney told the Post that they were fired from their jobs at the Trump National Golf Club Westchester – located in Briarcliff Manor, New York – after the company conducted an audit of the immigration documents it had been given and determined that theirs were fake. 

A Trump Organization human resources executive called them in one at a time to deliver the news, they said. Six of them said they were fired on Jan. 18. They told the Post that the move was unexpected and that they were not given any severance pay. 

Most of the workers told the Post they were from Mexico and had acquired fake immigration documents after they entered the U.S. on foot. They said the Trump Organization did not look closely at those papers when they were hired. 

"They said absolutely nothing. They never said, 'Your Social Security number is bad,' or, 'Something is wrong,'" Margarita Cruz, a housekeeper who was fired after eight years at the club told the Post. "Nothing. Nothing. Until right now."

Cruz made a recording of her interaction with Trump human resources executive Deirdre Rosen, who spoke to Cruz via a Spanish interpreter listening to their meeting on speakerphone. Rosen told Cruz her immigration documents didn't appear to be authentic. 

"Are you currently authorized for employment in the United States?" Rosen asked through the interpreter, according to the Post.  

Cruz said she was not.

"By law, the club cannot continue to employ an individual knowing that the individual is, or has become, unauthorized for employment," Rosen told her. "Unfortunately, this means the club must end its employment relationship with you today."

Cruz asked why she was not given any warning. 

"The law says as soon as we know that you do not have authorization that we cannot continue your employment. That’s why,"  Rosen said, according to the Post. "Have a great day." 

Gabriel Sedano, a maintenance worker at the club since 2005, told the Post he "started to cry" when he got the news. 

"I had worked almost 15 years for them in this club, and I’d given the best of myself to this job," he said. "I’d never done anything wrong, only work and work." 

Trump still owns the business, along with the other Trump Organization interests, but his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have taken over the daily operations since he was sworn in as president. 

"We are making a broad effort to identify any employee who has given false and fraudulent documents to unlawfully gain employment. Where identified, any individual will be terminated immediately," Eric Trump said in a statement emailed to the Post.

The Trump Organization did not immediately return a request for comment from USA TODAY.

In December, The New York Times published a story about undocumented workers at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Several workers were fired after that story ran, according to the Post. 

Trump has long decried the effect that the cheap labor provided by undocumented immigrants has on American workers. But the Post cited one unnamed former Trump organization manager who said the company had a "don't ask, don't tell" attitude toward undocumented workers. 

 "It was, 'Get the cheapest labor possible,'" the former manager told the Post.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump defended his company's practice of hiring foreign workers at his Mar-a-Lago golf club to do seasonal work under temporary visas. 

"People don't want a short-term job," Trump explained. "It's very, very hard to get people. But other hotels do the exact same thing." 


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