Nel's New Day

August 10, 2019

Epstein’s Death May Cover for DDT’s Undocumented Workers

Last week, ICE arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants at seven Mississippi plants on the first day of school, leaving their children homeless and at the mercy of townspeople’s charity. One question raised by ICE’s actions is why employers aren’t arrested. Only five companies have been prosecuted for hiring undocumented immigrants in the past 30 months despite ICE’s fervent attacks on their workers. None of these cases occurred from April 2018 to March 2019 although Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) said that making employers comply with immigration and labor laws is a top priority. In 2017, the DOJ began settlements from prosecution with seven, recently a $60,000 civil fine against a strawberry farm in Florida.

One current reason for reluctance in charging companies might be that DDT’s company hires undocumented workers. The investigation from the Washington Post found no evidence of ICE audits or raids at DDT’s properties in the recent past, either before or after he ran for president. The drop in corporate immigration cases has coincided with an overall drop in white-collar enforcement. White-collar crime prosecutions hit a historic low in January and are on track to be down six percent this year than fiscal 2018 and 30 percent below five years ago.

DDT’s company has relied in private on workers without legal immigration status even as Trump denounced such immigrants in public. For almost 20 years, workers who came into the United States illegally have built rock walls, waterfalls, fountains, and other features at his winery and golf courses from New York to Florida. And they are still employed for this work; supervisors tell them how to get false identity documents. Once the word got out last year about how permanent employees at golf courses were undocumented, 18 of them were fired. But the construction crew has stayed the same. The Trump Organization is still not listed for E-Verify for new hires.

According to industry officials, the Trump Organization has an advantage over competitors at a time of low employment because they are less likely to complain or change jobs if they are treated poorly. Some of them are sent hundreds of miles away from their homes for months to different jobs. DDT’s undocumented construction crew was started by stonemason Frank Sanzo when DDT’s bought a country club in foreclosure that required extensive masonry work. Sanzo told the crew to buy false Social Security numbers and green cards to put into the Trump Organization files. When labor union officials visited the construction site, Sanzo told the immigrant crew to hide until they left. 

During DDT’s campaign, one of his executives registered the construction crew under a new legal name, Mobile Payroll Construction. Nothing changed except for the name signing the paychecks. Mobile never scrutinized the workers’ immigration status. The company accepted an “individual Tax Identification Number” from the IRS for proof of legal status, although employers are told that these are insufficient. The government requires immigration and identity documents that “reasonably appear to be genuine.” DDT used in-house workers to avoid permitting costs for projects. Employees also did not receive health insurance, overtime wages, and other benefits.

DDT’s employment of undocumented workers:

  • They have been employed at a minimum of five golf courses, for 17 years at one club.
  • Despite denial, supervisors knew about the workers’ undocumented status.
  • know about their status?
  • DDT may have known about the undocumented status, but the Trump Organization and the White House refuse to answer questions about what he knows. He did say that “probably every club in the United States has [undocumented workers because it’s] a way that people did business.”
  • DDT claims his company is using E-Verify, a voluntary federal system that allows employers to quickly check the immigration status of new hires. Only three of his golf courses were listed as enrolled in E-Verify as of 2019; now all 12 of his golf courses are listed.

The New York state attorney general’s office is collecting information on DDT’s undocumented employees through interviews with a focus on wage-and-labor-law violations. New Jersey is doing the same thing. A wall might not have stopped DDT’s undocumented workers from coming into the country.

Mar-a-Lago‘s large number of foreign cooks, wait people, and housekeepers are legal. DDT claims no one in the United States will do the work, but he fights immigrants coming into the country because they take jobs from U.S. citizens. The fault lies not with the people who come to the country but with the wealthy business owners who exploit workers.

For the second year, farm workers and their supporters marched 14 miles in 90-degree heat through Washington state berry fields in protest to widespread abuse of agricultural labor. DDT is deporting laborers who have lived and worked here for years—like the ones in Mississippi—and replacing them with H-2A visa guest workers in another form of exploitation. That program was popular in 1954 when growers brought in 450,000 temporary workers and the country deported over a million people. It was abolished in 1964, but the H-2A visa was never eliminated.

Workers who can’t pick enough crops to satisfy the ever-needy corporations are threatened with deportation and sometimes don’t receive wages. Marchers held a moment of silence for Honesto Sila Ibarra, an H-2A guest worker who died after he was forced to return to work in the fields after he collapsed. A lawsuit against Ibarra’s employer, Sarbanand Farms, quoted a supervisor as saying that workers were told to work “unless they were on their death bed.”

By law, growers can bring in guest workers only if no local workers are available after the company advertisers. Another lawsuit against a Washington labor recruiter and a large winery charges that H-2A programs replaced local farmworkers after horrible working conditions discouraged locals from employment. Mercer Canyons, the company, settled by paying workers $545,000 and attorneys’ fees.

DDT claims that illegal immigration is a national crisis and lowers wages for people in the U.S. In his State of the Union speech this year, he said:

“Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate. It is cruel.”

DDT’s Labor Department proposed rule changes on July 26 to make the H-2A program cheaper and easier for growers to use because employers would not need to offer jobs to local farmworkers. Proposed rules also allow multiple growers to move workers from job to job in crews that help contractors to avoid local workers. Another advantage for employers—and disadvantage for workers—is for growers to self-inspect housing, which can be terrible. Ten percent of farm workers who are Washington residents live outdoors in a car or tent, and another 20 percent live in garages, shacks, or “in places not intended to serve as bedrooms.”

The new rule would also allow employers to save $80 million a year by forcing H-2A workers to pay for transportation costs from their homes to where they work instead of from the U.S. border. Growers also save millions with a complicated change in calculating minimum wages to not undercut wages of resident farm labor by eliminating standards for piece rates cuts hourly wages by $6.  

Once again the media has been diverted from DDT’s possible crimes with the death of Jeffrey Epstein, 66, in his jail cell. He was incarcerated on charges of sexually abusing dozens of young girls—many of them underage—in the early 2000s, crimes that former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta covered up to stop an FBI investigation. Law enforcement said Epstein was found hanging in his cell in what the Bureau of Prisons called an “apparent suicide.” The New York City ME is investigating the death.

Two weeks ago, Epstein was found unconscious in his cell with marks around his neck, but he was taken off suicide watch after a week. People close to Epstein consider a homicide because he had been in good spirits. The death came less than a day after the court unsealed a large number of documents about his activities and people who may have observed them. The lawyer representing two alleged victims plans to file a civil lawsuit against Epstein’s estate and called for his executors to freeze the estate assets. Epstein stayed in the same federal facility as Paul Manafort, drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, and the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing mastermind Ramzi Ahmed Yousef while they waited for trials.

AG Bill Barr has promised an investigation by his inspector general, in addition to the FBI investigation, into Epstein’s death, guaranteeing more media distraction from DDT’s crimes. At the same time, conspiracy theories are rolling: DDT retweeted a post blaming the death on Hillary Clinton and her husband, President Bill Clinton. The tweeter has no evidence, but these theories trended today.

Another man who preyed on underage girls,  self-described anarchist Cody Wilson, escaped a charge of felony sexual assault by pleading guilty to injury to a child. He stays out of prison but must register as a sex offender for seven years. During that time, he cannot own a firearm. Wilson had downloaded gun designs for 3-D printers to give criminals untraceable weapons. A judge had blocked Wilson from uploading the blueprints, but Wilson distributed his blueprints in other ways such as selling the files with the consumer determining the price. 

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

© blogfactory

Genuine news

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily News

Transformational News; What Works For Seven Future Generations Without Causing Harm?

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

Rainbow round table news

Official News Outlet for the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Central Oregon Coast NOW

The Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: