The president who condemns the employment of undocumented immigrants apparently has a few on his payroll.
In an interview with the New York Times, Victorina Morales, an unauthorized housekeeper working at President Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, opened up about her status as well as her alleged mistreatment at the club and her personal hurt over Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric.
According to Morales, 45, despite Trump building his 2016 presidential campaign against illegal immigration, including the employment of undocumented immigrants, she has worked for him for the last five years, even being trusted to make the president’s bed and iron his clothes.
The woman, who illegally entered the U.S. from Guatemala in 1999, said she was hired at the property in 2013 using phony documents that were apparently evident to her employer. According to Morales, managers at Trump’s club helped her evade detection as an undocumented worker, with a staffer driving her to work because she could not legally obtain a driver’s license and a supervisor directing her to another employee who could help her secure new fake documents after a problem was found with the original ones.
The report is embarrassing for a president who, during his campaign, called for the expansion of E-Verify, an online tool by the federal government that checks whether employees are legally eligible to work.
“I’m using E-Verify on just about every job,” Trump told MSNBC host Chris Matthews in March 2016. “I’m using E-Verify, and I’ll tell you, it works.”
That same year, during a speech in Arizona, Trump proposed a national E-Verify mandate, requiring all employers to use the program to avoid hiring undocumented workers.
“We will ensure that E-Verify is used to the fullest extent possible under existing law, and we will work with Congress to strengthen and expand its use across the country,” he said during the speech.
Since taking office, however, the president hasn’t prioritized the program. In fact, Morales’ account indicates that he doesn’t really emphasize it in his own businesses, either.
According to a search by the Washington Post of the federal government’s database of employers using E-Verify, only the president’s golf courses in North Carolina and Doral, Fla., his Mar-a-Lago resort and his hotels in Washington and Chicago use the program.
“We have tens of thousands of employees across our properties and have very strict hiring practices,” Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller told the Washington Post in an email. “If any employee submitted false documentation in an attempt to circumvent the law, they will be terminated immediately.”
Risking the loss of her job and deportation, Morales, who says she is not the only undocumented worker at her club, opened up about her status to highlight the hypocrisy of a president she said she feels wronged by.
“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 told the New York Times. “We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation.”
She also alleges she has experienced “physical abuse” by her direct supervisor on three occasions.
Morales, who says she has not been fired or heard from her employer since the article ran last week, has filed an asylum claim after her family in Guatemala was threatened and her father-in-law was fatally hacked in a machete assault.