Trump’s Bedminster Employed an Entire Costa Rica Town of Illegal Aliens

Canary. Photo by 4028mdk09.

“From Costa Rica to New Jersey, a pipeline of illegal workers for Trump goes back years.”

In an @theNewsBlender ICYMI report, Nothing To See Here, covering the two New York Times reports, Making President Trump’s Bed: A Housekeeper Without Papers and Undocumented Worker Says Trump Resort Shielded Her From Secret Service, we discovered one of Trump’s employees at his Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, The Bedminster, Emma Torres, who is an illegal alien from Ecuador, alleged she was one of many “undocumented” workers at Trump’s golf course whose names were purposely marked off the list of employees who Secret Service should have vetted.

Victoria Morales, an illegal in the US since 1999 from Guatemala said she “was given a Secret Service pin to wear when the president was in residence at the club.” But according to the Secret Service “officials,” they said the pin “did not signify that she passed any security clearance.”

Ms. Morales was still working at the club when The Times published its report, but has not returned to work since. She said that when her initial fraudulent green card expired, a manager at the club arranged for her to be driven to a place where she could obtain new counterfeit documents. She said he lent her money to purchase them.

New York Times

Now, according to a Washington Post report released Friday, that while “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,” it was “an open secret” that “the fruits of a long-running pipeline of illegal workers” ran from Costa Rica to New Jersey “to the president’s course.”

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.

Washington Post

Now the 34-year-old lives with his wife and daughters in a sturdy house built by “Trump money,” as he put it, with a porch to watch the sun go down.

It’s a common story in this small town.

Other former employees of President Trump’s company live nearby: men who once raked the sand traps and pushed mowers through thick heat on Trump’s prized golf property — the “Summer White House,” as aides have called it — where his daughter Ivanka got married and where he wants to build a family cemetery.

“Many of us helped him get what he has today,” Angulo said. “This golf course was built by illegals.”

Washington Post

“Some of the first Costa Ricans hired to build Trump National Golf Club Bedminster — Zuñiga, Angulo, and their Santa Teresa neighbor Abel Mora, among others — remember it as punishing work. They labored from dawn until late evening, seven days a week, raking and hauling mountains of earth moved by heavy machinery and shaping it into golf holes.”

At a time when licensed heavy equipment operators in New Jersey could on average earn $51-$55/hour in wages and benefits, Trump payed his illegal work force, some estimates of up to 100, $10/hour and no benefits during the entire construction of the private club and golf course.

The laborers were coming not only from Santa Teresa de Cajon, but also from other parts of Costa Rica and around Latin America. Before long, so many were working on the course — more than 100, by workers’ estimates — that Zuñiga’s cousin began charging workers for rides to Bedminster. He had two vans in circulation morning and night. When that wasn’t enough, he bought a used school bus, Zuñiga said.

“For me, moving to the U.S. wasn’t a very drastic change,” said Mauricio Garro, 36, who worked in maintenance at the golf course for five years until he returned to Santa Teresa in 2010. “My whole town practically lived there.”

Soon the work force became a divided culture where undocumented workers were “stratified by immigration status and English-language proficiency.”

“At the top were the professional staff and senior managers who spoke little or no Spanish. Below them were mid-level supervisors who were often immigrants themselves and able to converse in both languages.”

“In the early years,” former groundskeeper Alan Mora, who helped build the driving range at Bedminster, said of Donald Trump – who was referred to as “the big boss” – “When he arrived, we had to hide … We had to be invisible,” and described having to “stay inside a converted horse barn used to store tools and machinery or go into the woods to wait.”

On days Trump dined in the club’s restaurant, Vasquez said she and five other Spanish-speaking women working illegally at the club in 2004 and 2005 were sent upstairs by their supervisor to fold napkins and buff the glassware, and kept out of sight.

“They would tell us it was because the restaurant was hosting an important event, and only the workers who could speak English could be there,” she said.

“Franklin Mora, who quit after a year on the grounds crew, said that his manager would mock his limited English and spoke harshly to the Hispanic employees. The manager required them to set their mowers at a pace that required them to jog to keep up in a fashion he viewed as humiliating.”

““They treated us like slaves,” he said. The experience left Mora so bitter he said he wouldn’t return to the United States even as a tourist.”

On Tuesday, Trump said at the State of the Union address, ““No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration, … Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate — it is cruel.”

The Trump Organization, now ran by Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, began ‘purging’ some of their illegally documented work force since the release of the New York Times’ articles and have “fired at least 18 employees at five golf courses in New York and New Jersey, part of what Eric Trump has said is “a broad effort” to identify unauthorized workers. An additional undisclosed number were fired from Bedminster, former employees said.”

While other top-tier U.S. golf courses adopted the federal government’s E-Verify system to check the immigration status of potential hires, the Trump Organization is only now planning to implement it throughout its properties — even though then-candidate Donald Trump claimed in 2016 he was using it across his company.

Of 12 Trump golf courses in the United States, three of them — in North Carolina, Southern California, and Doral, Fla. — are enrolled in the E-Verify system, according to a federal database. Eric Trump said that “a few” other clubs, including a Trump course in the Bronx, use a private vendor to screen new applicants.  

The government has offered employers electronic verification services since 1997 and introduced the E-Verify system in 2007 to allow companies to screen new hires online. Nearly 750,000 U.S. employers are enrolled in the program, according to the latest government figures.

For the full story and full context of ‘My whole town practically lived there’: From Costa Rica to New Jersey, a pipeline of illegal workers for Trump goes back years, along with all their embedded links and cross reports at the Washington Post.

On A Side Note (Opinion)

For further reading, jump into the Waaay Back Machine to travel back to April 27, 1991 and this New York Times report: Judge Says Trump Tower Builders Cheated Union on Pension Funds; By Constance L. Hays.

[Emphasis mine]

“Mr. Diduck charged that Mr. Trump, who was desperate to meet both the deadlines for the project and for his complex financing requirements, overlooked the use of the undocumented workers, who put in 12-hour days, 7 days a week and in some cases even slept at the site.”

Mr. Macari would appear on the site with cash to pay the Polish workers, the judge’s decision said, and at times the Polish workers staged “very visible work stoppages because they were not being paid their wages,” which at $4 or $5 an hour were at least less than half what union workers were paid.

The union’s shop steward on the job, in charge of submitting reports showing how many workers were there, reported 12 to 16 union workers a week when there were “considerable numbers of Polish workers doing demolition covered by the contract,” sometimes as many as 150, the judge wrote.

It’s like deja vu. How weird is that.

Stay tuned.

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