Undocumented immigrants are among the construction workers on real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s new Washington, D.C. luxury hotel project, The Washington Post reported Monday.
Trump has garnered headlines and lost several business relationships in the days since his June 16 presidential announcement speech, in which he branded immigrants crossing the U.S. border with Mexico as “rapists” and drug dealers.
Yet when the Post recently spoke with about 15 of the workers renovating the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue to turn it into the Trump International Hotel, the newspaper found that many had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally before gaining citizenship or other legal status. Some said they remained in the country illegally.
The workers also made it clear that they didn’t appreciate Trump’s anti-immigrant diatribes.
“It’s something ironic,” one worker from Mexico who obtained legal status, Ivan Arellano, told the Post. “The majority of us are Hispanics, many who came illegally. And we’re all here working very hard to build a better life for our families.”
A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization told the newspaper in a statement that contractors who work with the company “are required to have prospective employees produce documentation that establishes identity and employment eligibility in compliance with immigration law.” The company’s general counsel, Michael D. Cohen, also shifted the responsibility for checking workers’ immigration status to the contractor at the hotel site, Lend Lease.
“The obligation to check all workers on site is exclusive to Lend Lease,” he told the Post. “This of course assumes that the assertion regarding the employees’ status is accurate.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.