Speaking up

Undocumented immigrant working at Trump’s ritzy golf club says she’s tired of ‘abuse’ and ‘insults’

Victorina Morales. (YouTube / CBS News)

Two undocumented immigrants have come forward about working at President Donald Trump’s exclusive New Jersey golf club, telling reporters that they believe their employers — including possibly Trump himself — knew of their immigration status. They were willing to risk their jobs and even deportation, they said, in order to speak out about the president’s abusive characterizations of migrants.

Victoria Morales, a former Guatemalan farmer who said she entered the U.S. illegally in 1999. She was hired at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in 2013, after she obtained forged documents that made it appear she had legal status to work in the U.S. Morales showed The New York Times an official certificate from the White House Communications Agency inscribed with her name — an award for the “outstanding” support she had provided Trump during the 70 days he has spent at the club since becoming president.

Over more than five years working for a club that charges $100,000 just for a basic membership initiation fee, Morales made Trump’s bed, cleaned his toilet, and dusted his house at the club while he watched television nearby. She even washed Trump’s boxer shorts, according to the Times report. When cabinet members were brought in for interviews or top officials such as chief of staff John Kelly came for discussions with the president, Morales said, she was often present quietly going about her work.

“I never imagined, as an immigrant from the countryside in Guatemala, that I would see such important people close up,” Morales told the Times. But Trump, whom she once admired and revealed was always generous with tips, has hurt her deeply since ascending to the White House. His relentless drumbeat of inflammatory rhetoric on immigration as left her upset, particularly Trump’s suggestions that Latin American immigrants were mostly violent criminals unworthy of dignity or humane treatment.

“We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money,” she said. “We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation.”

She and other employees at the club, she said, felt that Trump’s comments emboldened others — including the club’s housekeeping supervisor — to verbally abuse them with insults about their immigration status, their homelands, and their intelligence. According to Morales, she had told the housekeeping supervisor that she had no legal working documents when she first applied for the position and was told that all she needed were forgeries. After Trump took the oath of office in 2017, she said she was told by a manager that she needed to get a new green card and social security card because her old documentation would no longer work. The manager, she said, directed her to talk to a maintenance employee who offered to procure her new papers for $165. Unable to afford them, she said, the manager lent her the money.

Sandra Diaz, a native of Costa Rica who is now a legal U.S. resident, was also allegedly undocumented when she worked at the Bedminster club between 2010 and 2013. She said she knew of at least a dozen other undocumented immigrants working at the club, and personally witnessed the hiring of several of them.

“There are many people without papers,” Diaz, who has now obtained legal status, said.

The White House has yet to comment on the story. In a statement, The Trump Organization said: “We have tens of thousands of employees across our properties and have very strict hiring practices. If an employee submitted false documentation in an attempt to circumvent the law, they will be terminated immediately.”

Watch CBS News’ interview with Morales and Diaz below.

Read the full story The New York Times and CBS News.

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