Sunday, February 17, 2019

Not So Benign Neglect

Invaluable Washington Post investigative reporter David Farenthold, with two colleagues, reported recently

The Washington Post spoke with 16 men and women from Costa Rica and other Latin American countries, including six in Santa Teresa de Cajon, who said they were employed at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster. All of them said that they worked for Trump without legal status — and that their managers knew.

The former employees who still live in New Jersey provided pay slips documenting their work at the Bedminster club. They identified friends and relatives in Costa Rica who also were employed at the course. In Costa Rica, The Post located former workers in two regions who provided detailed accounts of their time at the Bedminster property and shared memorabilia they had kept, such as Trump-branded golf tees, as well as photos of themselves at the club.

The brightly painted homes that line the road in Santa Teresa de Cajon, many paid for by wages earned 4,000 miles away, are the fruits of a long-running pipeline of illegal workers to the president’s course, one that carried far more than a few unauthorized employees who slipped through the cracks.

Soon after Trump broke ground at Bedminster in 2002 with a golden shovel, this village emerged as a wellspring of low-paid labor for the private club, which charges tens of thousands of dollars to join. Over the years, dozens of workers from Costa Rica went north to fill jobs as groundskeepers, housekeepers and dishwashers at Bedminster, former employees said. The club hired others from El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala who spoke to The Post. Many ended up in the blue-collar borough of Bound Brook, N.J., piling into vans before dawn to head to the course each morning.

Their descriptions of Bedminster’s long reliance on illegal workers are bolstered by a newly obtained police report showing that the club’s head of security was told in 2011 about an employee suspected of using false identification papers — the first known documentation of a warning to the Trump Organization about the legal status of a worker.

Usually when the organic feces hits the rotating oscillator, there is panic in the workplace, a recognition that "they're on to us." Not, however, at Trump properties, as we learn

Other supervisors received similar flags over the years. A worker from Ecuador said she told Bedminster’s general manager several years ago that she entered the country illegally.

Eric Trump, a son of the president who runs the Trump Organization along with his brother Donald Trump Jr., declined to comment on the accounts by the former workers. Bedminster managers did not return requests for comment.

The company’s recent purge of unauthorized workers from at least five Trump properties contributes to mounting evidence that the president benefited for years from the work of illegal laborers he now vilifies.

So at least now the attention of voters and public officials can be turned to the practice of large employers routinely hiring illegal immigrants. Can, but won't:

It remains unclear what measures Trump or his company took to avoid hiring such workers, even after he launched a White House bid built on the threat he says they pose to Americans.

Amid Trump’s push for a border wall, there has been little public discussion of how U.S. employers — including the president himself — have generated demand for unlawful workers.

Of course there hasn't.  Hiring illegal immigrants- uh, er, undocumented workers- has long been a major part of the Trump business model. It was only fifteen months ago that details were released of a 1998 settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed because

Donald J. Trump employed a crew of 200 undocumented Polish workers who worked in 12-hour shifts, without gloves, hard hats or masks, to demolish the Bonwit Teller building on Fifth Avenue, where the 58-story, golden-hued Trump Tower now stands.

The workers were paid as little as $4 an hour for their dangerous labor, less than half the union wage, if they got paid at all.

Perhaps frustrated by the lack of attention to the extensive reporting of illegal immigrant labor at Trump properties, Farenthold has tweeted

But Farenthold should not have been shocked. Neither President Trump, the Republican Party, or the Democratic Party wanted to belabor the Bedminster-Central America connection, and the larger issue of exploitation of illegal immigrants also has been virtually ignored by Washington elites.

Unsurprisingly, Beto O'Rourke, himself a Washington elite as a former member of the United States House of Representatives, told Chris Hayes on Thursday that border wall already constructed should be torn down (whatever the cost).  He stated also "you make the the State of Texas, by extension you make the country a safer place by treating people with dignity and respect."

Nonetheless, you will not hear O'Rourke, his fellow Democrats, nor Donald Trump and Republicans suggesting that people will be treated "with dignity and respect" if- and only if- they are here legally.

If they are here illegally, as most prominent Democrats and Republicans condone, they will not be treated with that "dignity and respect."  The nomination of Heather Nauert has been withdrawn before it actually was made because it had not been submitted to the Senate. But there should have been no surprise that the President had intended to appoint her, not when neither party is especially exorcised by the illegal presence in the USA of 10-20 million people, many of them here to make Donald J. Trump and other plutocrats even wealthier.

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