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The management of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey is being investigated by the state Attorney General’s office for federal immigration law violations and both the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team have gotten involved in the investigation, according to the The New York Daily News.
Earlier this month, The New York Times revealed that Victorina Morales and Sandra Diaz, both undocumented immigrants from Central America, were employed as housekeepers at the exclusive Trump golf resort with full knowledge of their immigration status by the club’s management.
Now, comes news that the workers’ attorney, Anibal Romero, has claimed that the Trump resort’s management actually procured and provided the women with the fraudulent green cards and social security numbers that they used to evade detection by immigration authorities.
Romero said yesterday that he had met with investigators from the New Jersey attorney general’s office and delivered the physical evidence of the illegal immigration employment fraud. The attorney said that before approaching the state prosecutors he contacted the Special Counsel’s office because he was concerned about involving the Justice Department in the current administration which was still headed by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“I wasn’t sure, one, if they’d take me seriously and, two, if this could backfire on my clients,” Romero told The Daily News, fearing that the attention could lead to his clients’ immediate deportation by ICE agents.
The lawyer was quickly contacted by Mueller’s office which told him that the matter was outside the scope of their investigation. However, the Special Counsel’s team did refer the matter to the FBI which had an agent contact Romero a few weeks later.
“He said to me that he had received a referral from Robert Mueller’s office and that he already knew the specifics and that he wanted to meet with me in person,” Romero said.
The attorney then met with two FBI agents at a federal office in Branchburg, N.J., and provided the same evidence he had already given the state prosecutors. The agents agreed to “coordinate” with the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, according to Romero, although neither the FBI’s nor the AG’s spokespeople would comment on
“I’m confident that federal and state authorities will conduct a complete and thorough investigation,” Romero said.
According to The Daily News:
“Morales, a Guatemalan national who is still employed at the club but has stopped going to work, and Diaz, a Costa Rican national who used to work there and has since obtained legal status, are among at least five undocumented housekeepers at the club who allege they were set up with fraudulent documents and subjected to abuse and racial harassment.”
Both of the women say that club management were aware of their immigration status and acquired the phony employment documentation on their behalf. Morales says that a supervisor took her ID photo in the golf club’s laundry room and used her job application info to create fake work papers that the management kept the only copies of in order to keep them tethered to their jobs there.
“This was a practice and pattern,” their lawyer, Romero said. “My clients felt like they were trapped and they felt like the fake documents could be used against them.”
While publicizing their situation may lead to charges of immigration fraud against the women, a federal offense punishable by prison time, hefty fines and deportation, Morales has said that she came forward because she could no longer abide with the hypocrisy of President Trump’s demonization of immigrants in his political rhetoric while he used illegal immigrant labor to help him profit from his toney golf resort.
Harry Sandick, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, told The Daily News that the supervisor who allegedly obtained the fake documents for the women— as well as anyone else involved in the process — could be prosecuted for immigration fraud as well.
“Immigration crimes are hard to prosecute so the government may see something like this as a possible deterrent case,” Sandick said. “To show that even someone who works at the President’s golf club is under the microscope is very impressive and tells you that anyone can be charged.”
While Romero’s clients face serious legal problems going forward due to their admission of working illegally in this country, he asserts that it would be wrong to blame them for the systemic abuse of illegal labor by Trump’s club’s management.