- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2019

A New Jersey senator on Monday demanded that federal investigators launch a probe into President Trump’s golf course properties for hiring immigrants living in the U.S. illegally — and said they should be allowed to stay in the U.S. to act as witnesses.

Sen. Robert Menendez asked both the FBI and Homeland Security to look at whether there was a pattern of behavior by officials at Trump golf clubs to look the other way, or even to assist immigrants living in the U.S. illegally in obtaining work by helping them obtain fake documents.

Mr. Menendez, whose state is home to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, said he’s spoken personally with some of the immigrants who’d worked illegally at the course.

“The workers I met with describe a hostile environment where they were verbally abused and threatened. Given the serious nature of these allegations, I request that the FBI/HSI immediately open an investigation regarding the Trump National Golf Clubs,” the senator wrote.

He urged the government to offer the workers victim visas so they can provide evidence against the president’s operation — and get on a pathway to citizenship.

Two women who were immigrants living in the U.S. illegally when they worked at Bedminster will be attending Tuesday’s State of the Union address as guests of Democratic lawmakers.

One, Sandra Diaz, has since gained status, but Victorina Morales is still in the country without authorization.

They both say they were threatened with deportation by their employers at the Trump courses.

“It’s no small feat for a migrant from Costa Rica to stand up to a bully and hypocrite in the White House,” said Rep. Jimmy Gomez, the California Democrat who invited Ms. Diaz to Tuesday’s speech. “Apparently, the Trump Organization had no problem with hiring undocumented immigrants like Sandra to polish their golf clubs, serve them drinks, and make their beds. Treating these hardworking people with dignity, however, was clearly a bridge too far.”

Ms. Morales, meanwhile, is being brought by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a New Jersey Democrat.

While Ms. Morales is here illegally and under the Trump administration policy could be subject to deportation, that’s unlikely. Officials have said they don’t screen guests to the Capitol for legal status.

Mr. Trump remains the principal owner of the Trump organization, which runs hotels, golf courses and other operations across the country.

It’s unclear how many workers at Trump properties are immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally.

But Mr. Menendez, after meeting with four immigrants who’d worked at Trump golf courses, said they told him the businesses not only weren’t deterred by their status, but even helped them obtain fraudulent documents to pose as legal workers.

Some of the workers came forward after they were fired, complaining that they were martyred because of the president’s get-tough immigration policies.

In the wake of the reports, the Trump Organization belatedly announced it will start to use E-Verify, the federal system that allows employers to check new hires to make sure they’re authorized.

That system, which is voluntary at the federal level, is more robust than the paper-based I-9 forms that most employers use, which require businesses to ask for proof of work status such as a Social Security card. That sort of documentation is easily forged.

The Washington Times has reported that of more than 500 Trump-affiliated companies, just five were signed up for E-Verify as of last year.

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