It's been about two months since the New York Times published a striking portrait of a Guatemalan immigrant named Victorina Morales, who entered the United States illegally many years ago, and in 2013, began working at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump assured voters he hadn't hired "illegal immigrants." Morales wanted the world to know that wasn't true.
At first, this looked like a story about a brave woman, coming forward despite the risks to her personally, and a craven politician, exploiting anti-immigrant animus to advance his ambitions, despite his own personal record on the issue. But as regular readers know, it wasn't long before it became clear that Morales' experiences are part of a larger controversy.
Indeed, that original NYT report suggested that the management at Trump's club in New Jersey was well aware of the fact that it employed undocumented immigrants, and it deliberately took steps to obscure the fact that it broke the law – repeatedly, over the course of several years.
The scope of the issue is still coming into focus. The Washington Post reported overnight:
President Trump's company has fired at least 18 undocumented workers from five golf courses in New York and New Jersey in the past two months, part of a purge set in motion after a series of reports about the clubs' employment of workers without legal status.Eric Trump, the president's son, confirmed the firings to The Washington Post on Monday. Those dismissed included three undocumented workers at the Trump National Golf Club Colts Neck near Montrose, N.J., and three more at the Trump National Golf Club Philadelphia in Pine Hill, N.J.Another was dismissed from Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley in Hopewell Junction, N.Y.... There have also been firings at the Trump course in Bedminster, N.J., which his son did not address.
It's worth emphasizing that these figures came by way of Eric Trump, not independent sources. What's more, the dismissal of these undocumented workers is the result of a recent audit, and it's possible the number of firings may yet grow.
The timing of these revelations could be better for the president.
Donald Trump is, after all, leading an aggressive campaign against illegal immigration, even as we learn about his business having hired quite a few immigrants who are in the United States illegally.
The scope and scale of the problem is striking in its own right, and it's equally amazing that Trump's business waited until the third year of Trump's presidency to address the issue.
But let's also not forget that the story may yet advance further. A recent Washington Post report noted that Trump’s Bedminster club has drawn “scrutiny” from federal and state investigators, who are examining the venue’s employment practices.
The article added that the materials collected thus far “indicate that investigators may be launching a probe into the hiring practices of the president’s golf club.”