Donald Trump has taken a vocal stand against illegal immigration as president. However, a recent report from The New York Times revealed that his organization employed undocumented workers at a rural Virginia winery and waited months to fire them until after the grape harvest had finished.
Trump and his businesses have reportedly used undocumented workers in their hotels, golf courses, and wineries, despite the president’s fiery rhetoric condemning other businesses that have done the same. The president even signed a “Buy American, Hire American” executive order in 2017 and has taken criticism for the government’s policy that purportedly separates children from their parents at the border.
But at Trump Winery, a vineyard run by Trump’s son Eric Trump, the Trump team apparently knew that it was employing undocumented workers but waited months to fire them until the annual grape harvest had concluded.
After public outcry about the Trump organization employing laborers from places like El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras, multiple people were fired despite having worked at the organization for years. But instead of letting people go right away, workers reportedly said that they were kept on until the biggest jobs were taken care of. At least seven undocumented workers continued at the winery nearly a year after the Trump organization vowed to crack down on undocumented employees.
Omar Miranda, who drove a tractor at the winery and was fired this week, told The Washington Post that he believes his employers didn’t fire him during the summer because they needed him.
“Getting rid of them at that point could have caused problems for the wine,” he said. “I think they wanted to get their product out well, the grapes, to make sure that was taken care of, and once things were slow, they could fire us all.”
Anibal Romero, an immigration lawyer working with Miranda, added that Trump knew about these workers.
“Donald Trump has known about these workers for months,” he said. “He waits until the fields are tended, grapes picked, wine made. He then discards them like a used paper bag. Happy New Year — you’re fired.”
— Trump Winery (@trumpwinery) December 31, 2019
At other Trump properties like his golf courses, undocumented workers were purged nearly a year ago. Miranda said that he lived in fear for months knowing that the Trump properties were letting workers go.
The Trump Organization responded to a request for comment from The Post saying that they have a policy to fire any individual who is being employed illegally.
“Consistent with our efforts, we will immediately terminate any individual who has provided fake identification in order to unlawfully gain employment,” it said.