Things That Matter

With Reports Of Trump Employing Undocumented Workers, CBP Was Asked Why Trump’s Properties Have Not Been Raided

As president, Donald Trump’s platform has centered on anti-immigrant policies; however, as a real estate tycoon, his businesses have thrived on the labor of undocumented workers. With Immigration and Customs Enforcement carrying out massive raids across the country, some media are asking why the agency hasn’t busted any of Trump’s properties, despite its striking record of making unauthorized hires.

To be clear, outlets aren’t calling for more raids of undocumented workers but rather spotlighting the hypocrisy of a president who monetarily benefits from the very labor his administration controversially and violently resolves to stamp out.

When asked about Trump’s businesses seeming to be immune from investigation, CBP has remained silent on the issue.

During CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, host Jake Tapper asked acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan why ICE, which Morgan headed until last month, hadn’t conducted any raids or investigations into Trump’s clubs and hotels given multiple reports that the properties employ undocumented people.

“You really can’t say that for sure,” Morgan said, evading questions about the validity of the claims made against Trump’s businesses. “There are investigations going on all the time that you’re unaware of. … Of course, it’s going to jeopardize the investigation if I come on here and I talk to you about an investigation that’s going on.”

According to undocumented workers who have been employed by Trump, the president was aware of their immigration status.

Since 2015, when Trump announced his bid for presidency, journalists have reported on the mendacity of a then-candidate calling the people who built his real estate empire “rapists” and “drug-runners.” Since taking office, more news has circulated on the president’s use of undocumented immigrant labor. 

Last December, the New York Times interviewed undocumented housekeeper Victorina Morales, who had been working at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. In the article, the Guatemalan woman disclosed that employers were aware of her immigration status when she was hired in 2013 and instructed her to use phony papers in an effort to swindle the system.

The news was particularly damning at the time as the president was calling for the expansion of E-Verify, an online tool by the federal government that checks whether employees are legally eligible to work. According to a later report by the Washington Postnot only were several of his properties not using the tool but they were also informing people on how to illegally fake documents to get hired.

In May, CNN spoke with 19 undocumented immigrants who previously worked for Trump and noted that the president was undoubtedly aware of their status and employment.

“Some of these employees were the most-trusted employees of the Trump family. They’ve been working there for 10, 15 years,” Anibal Romero, a lawyer representing 38 immigrants who were undocumented while working at the Trump property, said during the segment. “Some of my clients had the keys to Eric Trump’s house in Westchester, New York.”

More recently, the Washington Post reported that many construction crews at Trump properties were made up of undocumented workers. The news came not long after Eric Trump announced that the company was making a “broad effort” to fire unauthorized workers. In the article, one employee noted that his supervisor also told him how to buy fake paperwork on a street corner in New York.

The reason why businessman Trump participates in the “immigration problem” he rails against as president is simple: it gives his company a competitive advantage.

Not only are undocumented laborers paid less but they are also less likely to quit due to limited employment opportunities and not as likely to complain if they are being mistreated, as many are.

With evidence that employers are oftentimes very aware of the immigration status of their undocumented laborers, Tapper asked Morgan why companies who hire unauthorized workers are not punished along with the workers themselves. According to a Syracuse University report that the host cited, only 11 people and no companies were prosecuted for employing undocumented workers between the spring of 2018 and 2019. During the same time, 85,727 people were prosecuted for entering the US illegally.

Morgan responded that an investigation into at least one of the businesses that employs undocumented workers is ongoing.

The interview came days after ICE raided a Mississippi chicken processing plant. The massive bust, which arrested 680 people suspected of being undocumented workers and ripped apart hundreds of families, was the largest worksite takedown in US history. No employers have currently been arrested.

Read: Customs And Border Protections Chief Mark Morgan Defended The Mississippi Raids Despite Children Left Without Parents

ICE Keeps People In Cages And Now A New Survey Proves It’s America’s Most Hated Government Agency

Things That Matter

ICE Keeps People In Cages And Now A New Survey Proves It’s America’s Most Hated Government Agency

Pew Research Center, a reliable source for polling about U.S. politics and policy, found that Americans like ICE the least of all federal agencies. While public trust in federal institutions is at a historic low, many expressed favorable views of agencies that provide social services and goods. 

Unsurprisingly, the U.S. postal service (free mail delivery!) ranked highest with 90 percent, with the National Park Service coming in a close second at 86 percent, and NASA in at third with 81 percent. 

However, Pew notes, “Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the sole agency asked about in the survey viewed more negatively (54% unfavorable) than positively (42% favorable), while the public is divided in its view of the Department of Education (48% favorable, 48% unfavorable).”

ICE ranked the worst federal agency by Americans.

While ICE is the most hated federal agency, the distaste for the organization is largely split across partisan lines. About 70 percent of Republicans and right of center independents view ICE favorably, but only 19 percent of Democrats and left of center independents do. However, overall ICE had the lowest favorability ranking of the bunch with the least percentage of 42% and the highest percentage of unfavorability with a percentage of 54. 

Other organizations that were ranked unfavorable were ones that appear to be failing the public, the second most-hated was the Department of Education, and the third most-hated was Veterans Affairs. Both of the organizations have been under scrutiny for years, while the Dept of Ed. has come under more fire under United States Secretary of Education and Trump appointee Betsy DeVos. 

Criticism of ICE mounts with Abolish ICE.

Abolish ICE is a political movement that advocates for the abolition of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Abolish ICE has gained more momentum since 2017 when the Trump administration began ramping up stricter immigration policies, including banning Muslims, diverting $6.2 billion in funds to build a wall at the southern border between U.S. and Mexico, and utilizing a child separation policy. 

Abolish ICE proponents note that ICE was created in 2003, and thus, it is not necessary to monitor immigration and maintain border security. 

“In this era, ICE has just taken off the gloves, going full throttle without regard to consequences,” Katrina Eiland, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrant Rights Project, told PS Mag. “This is a perfect example of that. They don’t have any logical enforcement priorities anymore—everyone is an enforcement priority.”

While ICE was initially intended to monitor and deport immigrants who commit crimes in the U.S., under the Trump administration, and sometimes in Obama’s, it has been used to track those who have committed the “crime” of entering the U.S. without documentation. 

Activist and writer Sean McElwee is credited with popularizing the #AbolishICE hashtag in 2017 which catapulted it into a movement in the real world spawning protests. The Hill also notes that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez brought the call to action into the political sphere. 

“The biggest moment for the Abolish ICE movement though came after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, upset Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), in a primary. As she leapt into the spotlight, she brought the calls to abolish ICE, into the national debate,” according to The Hill

“Within days of her victory, abolishing ICE had become a litmus test for Democrats running in the midterms and for those seen as potential 2020 presidential contenders.” 

Advocates believe ICE is a tool of white supremacy.

ICE has used increasingly brutal tactics like force-feeding detainees on hunger strikes, arresting citizens on the basis that they “look Hispanic,” and arresting undocumented immigrants when they show up for court appearances. 

The ACLU believes ICE and Border Patrol have increasingly abused their power, claiming their removal tactics take away immigrants’ rights to a fair hearing and that they potentially violate many of the Fourth Amendment’s protections including, ” the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and freedom from discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and national origin.” 

“The central assumption of ICE in 2018 is that any undocumented immigrant is inherently a threat. In that way, ICE’s tactics are philosophically aligned with racist thinkers like Richard Spencer,” McElwee told PS Mag

“Though the [Democratic] party has moved left on core issues from reproductive rights to single-payer health care, it’s time for progressives to put forward a demand that deportation be taken not as the norm but rather as a disturbing indicator of authoritarianism.” 

Pew notes that just 17 percent of adults say they trust the federal government to do what is right, while 71 percent say they trust the government “only some of the time.” While it remains to be seen if ICE will ever be abolished, it is clear that the majority of Americans would prefer it that way. 

ICE Is Using Fake Facebook Accounts To Entrap Migrants Even Though Facebook Has Warned The Government To Stop

Things That Matter

ICE Is Using Fake Facebook Accounts To Entrap Migrants Even Though Facebook Has Warned The Government To Stop

Last September, Facebook said it told the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that it must cease using fake profiles on the social media platform to monitor undocumented immigrants. Facebook claims that the company prohibits fake accounts and that DHS was violating its policy. 

“Law enforcement authorities, like everyone else, are required to use their real names on Facebook and we make this policy clear on our public-facing Law Enforcement Guidelines page,” a Facebook representative told The Guardian in April. “Operating fake accounts is not allowed, and we will act on any violating accounts.”

However, ICE and DHS have not stopped creating fake accounts, a tactic they began using in 2015. ICE has gone as far as luring in undocumented immigrants with these profiles and even creating a fake university. 

ICE uses fake Facebook profiles to track undocumented immigrants. 

According to the New York Times, ICE agents began to watch a largely Latinx community in Washington State’s Long Beach Peninsula, to properly identify the undocumented immigrants they created fake Facebook profiles. 

Glady Díaz Tadeo, a mother of three, posted a photo of piñata in the shape of a cupcake her family made, selling it for $20. Tadeo posted the item on a private Facebook group made up only of local residents. A person responded to the ad, the profile had a “Hispanic name” and a picture of a dog. 

Tadeo went to deliver the piñata and when she arrived two ICE agents showed her a printout of her Washington State driver’s license. Tadeo was taken to a private detention center, three weeks later she was deported to Mexico. 

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division created fake universities to lure in migrants. 

The Guardian discovered that over 600 Detroit, Michigan students, nearly all from India, were caught up in an HSI plan where they created multiple Facebook profiles tied to the University of Farmington — a fake college to lure in foreign nationals. 

The fake school had no employees save for undercover agents and described itself as “a nationally accredited institution authorized to enroll international students.”

ICE agents, posed as school officials from Farmington, would register students who had initially come to the U.S. on student visas but had them lapse. The intention, advocates believe, was to convince these migrants to commit crimes by allegedly making them believe they were legally obtaining student visas when they were not. 

Faiza Patel, the co-director of the liberty and national security program at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, believes that the students had no idea what they were getting into. 

“Normally, we would like our law enforcement agencies to be investigating crimes that are already occurring as opposed to spending time and resources in creating elaborate sting operations,” said Patel.

However, a 2008 ICE handbook revealed, what would usually be considered entrapment for other law enforcers, is fine. According to The Guardian, the handbook stated that “while undercover agents are advised not to induce people to commit crimes, exceptions can be made and are internally regulated.”

In 2016, ICE did the same university stunt when 1,000 New Jersey students were lured in by fake school staffers who were really ICE agents. In both cases, ICE claims the students knew that they were committing fraud. 

However, workers near the building of Farmington told WXYZ that students regularly came to the building asking when school would open and complained they could not get in touch with school staff. 

“ICE knowing this or DHS knowing this tries to ensnare as many people as possible and get them wound up in an immigration system where they know that the cards are going to be stacked against the immigrant,” said Angelo Guisado, an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. 

Facebook repeatedly condemns ICE’s behavior. 

The Guardian reports that, “Facebook removed the University of Farmington accounts shortly after being contacted by the Guardian and a representative said it contacted the Department of Homeland Security about its policy on fake accounts.” 

Facebook said it would take action against any law enforcement officials impersonating others. However, this was just a few days after the Associated Press reported the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services planned to create fake social media accounts again. 

“An updated Homeland Security Department review of potential privacy issues… essentially reversed a prior ban on officers creating fake profiles,” the AP stated. “A USCIS statement explaining the change says fake accounts and identities will make it easier for investigators to search for potential evidence of fraud or security concerns as they decide whether to allow someone entry into the U.S.” 

While the practice has always violated Facebook’s policy, and the company has consistently condemned it, it still remains clear if ICE will ever stop.