President Trump’s business empire will start to use the federal E-Verify program to weed out workers who are in the country illegally, the Trump Organization announced this week, after another set of workers came forward to say they had been employed at one of his golf courses.
The Washington Times reported last month that just five of the 565 companies in the president’s empire were signed up for the system.
Now, the others say they’re finally going to get on board.
“We are actively engaged in uniforming this process across our properties and will institute E-Verify at any property not currently utilizing this system,” Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said in a statement provided to The Associated Press.
Mr. Trump, in his statement, blamed the immigrants and the system that allowed them to submit bogus paperwork for allowing unauthorized workers to be hired in the first place.
Two sets of immigrants have come forward in recent months to say they had been illegally employed at Trump-owned golf courses.
One lawyer said he represented more than 20 immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who were working at Trump properties, and he said the president was “running a criminal enterprise.”
Immigrant-rights activists had hoped news of the company’s illegal hires might prompt Mr. Trump to take a toned-down approach on illegal immigration.
Instead, his company appears to be getting tough, signing up for E-Verify.
The system, run by the Department of Homeland Security, allows employers to enter identifying information about new hires. That information is checked against government databases, and if the person doesn’t have a valid Social Security file, they are reported back as not authorized.
E-Verify is voluntary at the federal level but some states have made it mandatory.
The Washington Times has been tracking Trump companies’ use of the system for years.
As of last month, Mr. Trump’s golf courses in Charlotte, North Carolina, Los Angeles and Miami, his hotel in Washington and a hotel he operated in New York were signed up.
But his marquee Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida was not signed up, nor were his golf courses in Virginia, Philadelphia or Bedminster, New Jersey, where a number of immigrants who were working illegally have come forward.
Contacted by The Times last month, the Trump Organization brushed aside questions about its lack of use of E-Verify, insisting it was taking care of its problem by firing anyone it found to be in the country illegally.
The organization didn’t say why it changed its mind this week.
NumbersUSA, an advocacy group that has long pushed for E-Verify to be made mandatory for all companies, praised the Trump Organization’s move, calling it a “great example for the rest of the nation’s employers.”
“Much embarrassment for businesses and hardship for workers could be avoided if E-Verify were mandatory and only legal workers employed by all employers,” said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA.