President Trump’s National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., may be under federal investigation after employees came forward accusing the club of hiring undocumented migrants and creating false immigration documents for them, per the New York Daily News and attorney Anibal Romero, who provided New Jersey prosecutors with evidence from his clients, Victorina Morales and Sandra Diaz. Romero met with the state attorney general, and handed over fake green cards and social security numbers that were given to his clients and created by management.
When Morales and Diaz came first came forward, Romero didn’t want to deal with then-attorney general and known xenophobe Jeff Sessions and risk jeopardizing the case, so instead he reached out to special counsel Robert Mueller, hoping it would fall under the Russia investigation. It wasn’t in their jurisdiction, so the information was handed off to the FBI, which got in touch with Romero later on, asking for an in-person meet up. They’re still in touch now.
Romero and the agencies won’t confirm that the FBI is launching an official investigation. The New Jersey Attorney General office said it has a policy “to neither confirm or deny investigations.” Romero himself is more straightforward when he says, “I’m confident that federal and state authorities will conduct a complete and thorough investigation.”
Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller deflected when she told the New York Times, “We have tens of thousands of employees across our properties and have very strict hiring practices. If any employee submitted false documentation in an attempt to circumvent the law, they will be terminated immediately.” The organization’s apathy, though, is blatant; Morales, who publicly admitted she has fake immigration documents, is still getting paychecks from the club.
Morales and Diaz told their stories to the Times last month after becoming upset with the growing hypocrisy coming from Trump and his views on immigration. Morales is still employed by the golf club, but has stopped going to work since she went public with her claims. Diaz, who’s Costa Rican, doesn’t work at the club anymore, but was able to obtain legal status. These women say club management compiled personal information on them when they were hired, snapped a photo in the club’s laundry room, then days later were told a supervisor received the fraudulent documents and would keep them.
Romero said “this was a practice and pattern. My clients felt like they were trapped and they felt like the fake documents could be used against them.” It’s a clear abuse of migrants workers. Without saying so explicitly, Trump’s club management sends a threat. Mess up, leave, or tell anyone what we’re doing, and we’ve got dirt on you.
Even though Morales and Diaz have come forward, they’re still at risk. Per former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Harry Sandick, anyone involved with the use or creation of those fake documents could be found guilty of immigration fraud. The only solace Romero was able to provide his clients with was the assurance that prosecuting them would be missing the point. Still, these women came forward, despite the risk.
Morales told the Washington Post, “I was humiliated. I just wanted to come of the shadows. I was trapped and threatened with deportation if I spoke out against my boss, who was so abusive. No one should be treated this way in the United States of America.”