Trump’s Use of Undocumented Workers Should Be a Bigger Scandal

I’ve spent virtually every day of the last fourteen years writing about American politics, and in particular about the horrible behavior of the American right. As a result, I find myself shrugging at a lot of outrageous hypocrisy, low-level criminality, and basic projection simply because I’ve written about similar stories hundreds of times already and it just doesn’t seem very newsworthy. My tendency to overlook things is even more pronounced in the Trump era. When the president is basically the pawn of a foreign dictator, it’s hard to get worked up about a lot of the more mundane sins I see that are committed on a daily basis.

For whatever reason, however, I just can’t let this story go.

A group of undocumented immigrants who worked at Donald Trump’s golf clubs in New Jersey and New York met with members of Congress in Washington this week, hoping their personal stories can ultimately lead to a formal investigation into abuses and potentially criminal hiring practices by the Trump Organization.

One of the workers, maintenance worker Gabriel Sedano, had been employed at Trump’s Westchester, New York, resort as recently as this month. Sedano was among the number of undocumented workers dismissed during a mass firing on Jan. 18, in the midst of Trump’s government shutdown over his stupid wall. “It seemed unjust that they just call you and they fire you, when they knew we were good workers,” he said. Sedano had worked there for more than a decade.

Other good workers like him were subjected to horrific treatment. Former Bedminster, New Jersey, housekeeper Victorina Morales said she was verbally and physically abused by resort management, who also mocked her immigration status. She worked so close to Trump that she cleaned his clothes and made his bed. Their stories, said Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, “really speak volumes about the hypocrisy of the president who rails against immigrants, but uses their labor and does so in a way, and an in an environment, as I understand it, that was hostile to them and threatening to them.”

An indignant Eric Trump, who supposedly manages the day-to-day operations of his dad’s businesses (fact: Donald Trump is still involved in his businesses), blamed everyone but his organization for hiring undocumented immigrants and then abusing them.

The president, who claims to be tough on crime and the best friend of the police, is in fact a criminal. He claims that America is being invaded by immigrants from Mexico and Central America who are committing crimes and taking American jobs. He’s on the verge of declaring this a national emergency so he can use extraconstitutional powers to build a border wall, but he’s been employing undocumented Latino workers in his hotels and resorts for decades, in violation of the law.

When stories like this fail to elicit the proper amount of outrage and get wall-to-wall media coverage, it permits people to proudly wear their MAGA hats and say that the message is to “buy American, hire American.” In truth, Trump doesn’t hire American if he can help it. He’s running the biggest con I’ve ever seen.

Although the con is being exposed, the problem is that there are so many examples of his hypocrisy and criminality that they all bleed together. To me, this story about his use and mistreatment of undocumented workers should be an exception. I’d like to see every Republican office-holder asked about this on a daily basis. I’d like to see every person with a MAGA hat have to respond to why this is okay.

Yet, if I’m honest, I won’t be writing about this tomorrow or the next day.  I’ll be chasing the next big thing like everyone else.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.