Undocumented Trump golf club employee doesn’t regret speaking out – The Guardian

A Guatemalan living in the US without documentation who says she faced abusive working conditions as a maid at Donald Trump’s New Jersey golf club does not regret speaking out, even though she might lose her job and be deported.

Victorina Morales said in an interview Friday that she cannot go back to Guatemala because her family has received death threats. But she said she felt she had to stand up for other workers without legal documents at the club who have been ridiculed by a supervisor as “donkeys” and “dogs”.

“We need to come out and defend ourselves,” said Morales, 47, brushing away tears. “I had enough with suffering.”

Morales, who said she has not been told definitively that she has been fired, said at least a dozen other workers at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster did not have legal documentation.

Morales and another cleaning woman at the club, Sandra Diaz, said they used phony social security and permanent residency documents to get hired, their supervisors knew it and that many employees there also lack legal documents.

They both said they worked at Trump’s house at the club, cleaning his clothes and making his bed, and were angered by his remarks describing undocumented migrants as violent. They said his comments may have encouraged what they describe as rampant verbal abuse at the resort.

“The president says that in the places he owns he does not hire any undocumented workers … It is a lie,” said Diaz, 46, a native of Costa Rica who worked at the club from 2010 to 2013.

The two women’s account was first reported by the New York Times on Thursday. The Times subsequently said two other migrants who worked at the club came forward on Friday to say that they lived illegally in the US when they hired.

The Trump Organization said in emailed statement it has strict hiring practices and that any workers with false papers will be fired. A spokesman for the White House did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Morales said a supervisor at the club helped her get phony working papers. She said another supervisor pushed her against a wall three times, told her to stop speaking Spanish and threatened her with deportation if she complained.

“Every morning I would tell myself: ‘Just ignore whatever they yell at you. I need this job,”’ said Morales, a mother of three in their 20s, all living in the US.

Diaz said she once witnessed a manager pull the hair of a worker without legal papers.

The two women are now considering a lawsuit against the Trump Organization for workplace abuse and discrimination. Morales said she is also seeking asylum.

Trump has called for a crackdown on migrants living in the country without documentation. In addition to demanding funding for a wall on the Mexican border, his administration has stepped up workplace raids and urged companies to screen workers more carefully.

He has also funded an expansion of E-Verify, a federal database that allows employers to check electronically whether people are authorized to work in the US.

The Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster is not on a list of employers that have registered to use E-Verify. A few other Trump properties such as Mar-a-Lago in Florida are registered.

Morales said that during Trump’s presidential campaign, hours for workers at the resort whom she thought were in the country illegally were cut. She was told she couldn’t clean Trump’s house anymore.

After Trump was elected, Morales said, a manager told her she needed new social security and green cards showing permanent residency, and the manager helped her procure them with help from a maintenance worker.

Morales said she witnessed the murder of her father when she was seven. Her father-in-law was also killed after she went to the US in 1999. She said her mother-in-law called her to say she couldn’t come back because of death threats against the family.

Diaz said she arrived in the US in 2009 and ended up staying after her visitor’s visa ran out. She said she now has legal documents to work.

The women’s lawyer, Anibal Romero, has called for federal and state investigations into what he describes as a “toxic environment” that was used to intimidate the two women, “leaving them fearful for their safety and the safety of their families”.