House Democrats call for FBI investigation of Trump golf clubs

Ten Democratic members of Congress sent a letter Wednesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting an investigation into the Trump Organization over revelations that undocumented workers were employed at the company’s golf clubs.

“We write to you to request a thorough federal investigation into the disturbing allegations from former Trump Organization employees that demonstrate possible violations of both civil and criminal law by the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York and Bedminster, New Jersey,” the letter reads.

The Trump Organization has said that workers who have been identified as undocumented are no longer employed and that executives were not aware that undocumented workers were on the payroll — though several workers have said that their managers knew about their status and helped them falsify documents.

Reports about hiring at the President’s clubs came just before he forced a month-long shutdown over the border wall, part of his effort to limit immigration across the southern border.

“The number of immigrants claiming they were employed illegally by the Trump Organization has risen to over 20 individuals and raises serious questions of criminal activity and numerous violations of employment laws at the Trump Golf Club in Westchester County, New York and Bedminster, New Jersey—including conspiracy charges, procuring false documents, and forced and coerced labor,” the letter reads.

Neither the FBI nor the Trump Organization immediately responded to a request for comment.

The lawmakers also expressed concern about retaliation against individual workers who have come forward.

“Additionally, we request that the victims of the alleged criminal and civil violations be protected as material witnesses and victims. If the Department of Homeland Security deports any of these workers, it would be an obstruction of justice.”

Former undocumented Trump workers met with lawmakers last month on Capitol Hill to urge them to launch an investigation into the Trump Organization hiring practices and shield them from deportation.

Two of the workers — Victorina Morales and Sandra Diaz, who is now a legal US resident — were guests at the State of the Union last week, invited by Reps. Jimmy Gomez and Bonnie Watson Coleman. Both lawmakers signed the letter, along with Reps. Raul Grijalva and Tom Malinowski, whose district includes Bedminster.

Trump’s golf clubs in New Jersey and New York had not been participants in the federal E-Verify system, which is designed to help employers confirm that applicants are legally permitted in the US.

The Trump Organization said in a statement to CNN earlier this month that the company would institute E-Verify “at all applicable properties and will continue to take swift and appropriate action where necessary.”

Anibal Romero, a New-Jersey based lawyer, who represents 25 workers who are, or were, undocumented during their employment at Trump’s golf clubs, told CNN on Wednesday that he welcomed an FBI inquiry.

“Many of the workers came in on valid visitors’ visas and had no problem getting a job there because management decided it was convenient for them to hire cheap labor,” Romero said.