As a businessman, he’s had a history of using undocumented immigrants and abusing workers
Donald Trump won the White House in part by slandering Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists,” but recently released legal documents show he benefitted from immigrant labor, specifically undocumented immigrants he underpaid or refused to pay at all, the New York Times and Gabe Ortiz with the Daily Kos report.
Despite frequent claims that he never settles lawsuits, in 1998 Trump settled, after years of legal wrangling, a class-action lawsuit filed against him on behalf of a crew of 200 undocumented Polish workers nicknamed the “Polish Brigade” who cleared the way in 1980 for what would become the site of Trump Tower, the flagship of his real estate empire. The workers, according to the suit, labored in dangerous conditions, “without gloves, hard hats or masks,” for as little as $4 an hour through 12-hour days.
The terms of that settlement remained a secret for almost 20 years but were unsealed earlier this month by U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska in response to a 2016 motion filed by Time Inc. and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Judge Preska found the public’s right to know of court proceedings in a class-action case was strengthened by the involvement of the “now-president of the United States.”
And a president who consistently maligns immigrants as takers, when in fact it was the alleged billionaire who underpaid blue-collar workers and then spent 15 years fighting them over it.
In fact, Trump lied on the stand about having knowledge of their status, saying, “I really still don’t know that there were illegal aliens.”
However, one labor consultant testified that Trump called him for advice after the contractor he hired stopped paying the workers, with Trump saying “he had some illegal Polish employees.” The foreman on the job testified that Trump frequently visited the site and commented, “those Polish guys are good, hard workers.”
In addition, attorney John Szabo said Trump had his lawyer call him with a threat to call Immigration and Naturalization Service to have the men deported.
Trump eventually settled the suit for $1.375 million (It’s unclear how much of the money, if any, went to the workers) but continued to take advantage of undocumented immigrants for his own benefit.
In 2015, the Washington Post reported, undocumented immigrant laborers helped finish Trump’s $200 million hotel in Washington, D.C.
According to the Guardian in 2016, immigrant workers at Trump’s Las Vegas hotel have been overworked and underpaid. In 2016, the hotel was forced to settle for more than $11,000 following charges that higher-ups retaliated against hotel employees for union organizing.
The New York Times reported last year that Trump “pursued more than 500 visas for foreign workers” since 2010.
So much for buying American and creating good-paying American jobs.