Two of Donald Trump’s former personal housekeepers exposed the president’s company Trump Organization, which he still owns, as employing dozens of undocumented immigrants. Sandra Diaz and Victorina Morales told reporters that many of Trump’s properties employ undocumented workers for exploitatively low pay and long hours.
The Washington Post spoke with 48 undocumented immigrants who worked at 11 of Donald Trump’s hotels and resorts in Florida, New Jersey, and Virginia.
Diaz and Morales felt compelled to speak, as Trump’s damning rhetoric against undocumented immigrants became public discourse.
“How can you know something so big, how someone — who goes on national television and says something — and you know it’s not true,” Diaz said. “Whether it’s the president or not, you have the responsibility to say no. To pass through this barrier of fear and say no.”
When Trump began espousing increasingly virulent views on Latinxs and immigrants, the undocumented workers at his hotels and resorts began to feel the ire at work.
“The worry among the kitchen staff at BLT Prime, the hotel’s restaurant, was serious enough that a week before Trump took office, undocumented employees met with a manager to say they could not continue to come to work because they didn’t have legal documents and feared deportation,” according to the Washington Post.
Trump’s referrals to Mexicans as rapists and criminals and the implication of a Latinx invasion left his employees apprehensive. The golf-playing clientele of Trump’s resorts would take on the president’s points of view when they interacted with the undocumented staff.
“You’re still here? How come we can’t get rid of you? I’m going to call Trump, you [expletive] Mexican,” Gabriel Juarez, a former head waiter at one of Trump’s New York golf clubs, said a member told him.
Trump, their own employer was advocating for policies that he himself was violating and that was putting their lives at risk. Some employees even started to distance themselves because of the politically hostile environment.
“I didn’t feel comfortable working over there. That atmosphere. A lot of conservative people talking about abortion or gay marriage,” said the anonymous former employee. “I got kind of tired of all these anti-immigration [events].”
Morales says she became afraid to work there because she feared violence.
The intensity increased with housekeepers noticing both hostilities towards immigrants and Trump. They found anti-Trump messaging vandalizing the mirrors of the men’s locker room. In one instance, there was even a hanged Trump doll in a stall.
“It made me afraid,” Morales said. “We began to wonder: What if someone comes and puts a bomb in here?”
Morales who migrated from Guatemala didn’t want to stand up against her boss who was now the most powerful man in the United States, but she could see how quickly and how badly things could be.
While Diaz was able to become a permanent resident, Morales has not. Despite efforts from a lawyer to protect Morales and other undocumented employees from being deported because they were material witnesses in a possible federal crime, they were not granted protected status. With little other options, the two turned to the press.
No one has been deported because of the two housekeepers, yet many of the undocumented workers who are still employed by Trump resent the pair. When the news broke there was a company-wide audit of employees. Trump Organization fired at least 18 people because of their immigration status, workers who spoke to the Washington Post said it was closer to 30 or 40.
“I also worked there a long time without papers but the most incredible thing is to see how people, when they have papers, forget how they got here,” Antonio Zuñiga, a former Trump employee, wrote on Facebook. “I’m sorry but people like you Doña Sandra have forgotten their principles.”
Trump all but blanketly admits that his properties employ undocumented immigrants.
“Well, that I don’t know. Because I don’t run it,” Trump told reporters when asked if Trump Organization employed undocumented immigrants in July. “But I would say this: Probably every club in the United States has that, because it seems to me, from what I understand, a way that people did business.”
However, in the article many of the undocumented workers said they personally met Trump. When the Washington Post reached out for comment about the allegations from the workers, the press secretary vaguely denied all of the claims.
“The assertions made for this story are not only false, they are a disgusting attempt at invading the privacy of the First Family,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the Washington Post. “This is not journalism — it is fabricated tabloid trash.”
Morales has since applied for asylum in the United States. She and Diaz are actively mobilizing against Trump’s re-election campaign.
“We are here to show our faces not just for ourselves, but for the 11 million [undocumented] immigrants who are here in the country,” Morales said at a Trump rally in Orlando, Florida.