Trump employed undocumented immigrants at golf club, lawsuit claims

Victorina Morales says she decided to speak out after president referred to refugees and migrants arriving from Latin America as 'criminals'

Chris Riotta
New York
Friday 07 December 2018 01:53
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Donald Trump says stone-throwing migrants could be shot by US military

An apparently undocumented immigrant who says she has cleaned Donald Trump’s residency at his New Jersey golf club for more than five years has revealed what it is like working for the president in a remarkable new interview.

Risking dismissal from her job and deportation from the United States, Victorina Morales expressed frustration over the president’s frequently divisive comments about undocumented immigrants despite the “outstanding” support White House officials have told her she provided during his visits to the golf course.

“We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money,” she said in an interview with the New York Times. “We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation.”

Ms Morales described numerous interactions she had with Mr Trump at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where she said she used fake documents to secure a job with ease after working at another hotel before learning of the opening.

“I told [a supervisor] I don’t have good papers,” she recalled. “She told me to bring what I used at the hotel.”

She claimed she had been subjected to a string of insults from a supervisor at the club, including jibes about her intelligence and her immigration status.

The New York Times also interviewed Sandra Diaz, a legal resident who previously worked at the same golf course while she was an undocumented immigrant, eventually training Ms Morales in housekeeping for Mr Trump.

Ms Morales noted multiple exchanges she had with Mr Trump were pleasant, including numerous occasions in which he tipped her $50 or $100 for her work in cleaning his private quarters.

However, Ms Diaz also described a chaotic scene each time Mr Trump would show up to the golf course by surprise, as countless workers rushed to prepare everything exactly to his liking.

“He is extremely meticulous about everything. If he arrives suddenly, everyone runs around like crazy,” she said.

On one occasions, Mr Trump reportedly had an “outburst” when his white golf shirt appeared to have an orange stain on its collar. Ms Diaz described the stain as “stubborn remnants of his makeup, which she had difficulty removing”.

Both women spoke to the newspaper — which Mr Trump has repeatedly referred to as “fake news” and the “failing New York Times” — after being introduced by their immigration attorney Anibal Romero.

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The White House did not respond to requests for comment, but Amanda Miller, senior vice president for marketing and corporate communications at the Trump Organisation, said in a statement, “If an employee submitted false documentation in an attempt to circumvent the law, they will be terminated immediately.”

Ms Morales told the Times she had decided to speak out when the president began referring to refugees and migrants arriving from Latin America as “criminals”. Having crossed the border in 1999, Ms Morales said her life working at the Trump National Golf Course for the last five years had been surreal.

“I never imagined, as an immigrant from the countryside in Guatemala, that I would see such important people close up,” she said.

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