By Miriam Jordan
An immigrant who lives in the country illegally and worked for years at the President’s luxurious golf complex Donald Trump in New Jersey (and later revealed that he employed many immigrants who are living illegally in the country) will be subject to deportation procedures.
Victorina Morales, 47, worked for more than five years as a janitor at the club in Bedminster, New Jersey, using a false ID that she says her supervisors knew was not authentic. Their disclosures, first reported in The New York Times in December 2018, caused several workers who live illegally in the country and worked at various Trump properties to raise their voices.
Dozens of others were fired in the following months by the Trump Organization, which owns and operates the golf complexes in several states, after the company began investigating employee documentation.
Morales, a Guatemalan immigrant, received a notice this week from federal authorities that removal proceedings had been initiated that could lead to her deportation. You can stay in the country only if an immigration judge approves your asylum application.
In a letter to which the Times had access, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service noted that the agency had not approved her initial asylum application because she had not verified that “extraordinary circumstances” had prevented her from making an application. asylum in the year after arrival in the country, as requested.
Morales, who witnessed her father’s murder, illegally crossed the border in 1999. She filed for asylum with her husband in late 2018, and both are affected by this new decision.
The immigration agency emphasized that it was not rejecting his asylum application, but instead would refer his case to the immigration courts to begin removal proceedings, in which a judge will review his asylum status.
Due to the accumulation of immigration cases, Morales will surely be able to continue living in the United States for several years while his case is being analyzed. On Thursday, he was not available to give an interview.
Anibal Romero, her lawyer, said the agency’s ruling this week “is a serious legal matter, and my concern right now is the safety and well-being of my client.” She said she would not comment further.
After Morales arrived in New Jersey, he worked in warehouses packing consumer goods, such as soaps and baby diapers. She was hired on the Trump property in 2013.
During his time at the golf complex, he said, he often cleaned Trump’s personal room and had various interactions with him. He said he had praised her for her meticulous cleanliness and work ethic, and sometimes left her with large tips.
However, Morales said she was hurt by the disparaging public comments Trump made after he took office, when he compared Latin American immigrants to violent criminals.
It was that, she said, coupled with what she described as abusive comments from a supervisor at work about her intelligence and immigration status, which led her to decide that she would no longer remain silent.
“We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows we are helping him make money,” he said back then.
Morales was trained by Sandra Díaz, originally from Costa Rica and now a legal US resident. Diaz also raised his voice in order to admit that he had been in the country illegally while working at Bedminster.
Trump Organization executives have said they had no way of knowing that the workers had submitted false labor documents, and Trump has pointed out that they also did not know that immigrants living illegally in the country had been hired.
During the presidential campaign, when the Trump International Hotel opened in Washington, Trump boasted that he used an electronic hiring system, E-Verify, in order to check that only those who have legal permission to work there were hired.
“We have not employed any illegal immigrants,” Trump said at the time.
However, throughout his campaign and after he took office, Morales had been reporting to work on Trump’s golf course. A colleague drove her and other workers who lived in the country illegally by car every day, she said, because they knew they could not legally obtain driving licenses.
After raising his voice, Morales rose to fame. In February last year, she was one of twenty immigrants who were on the guest list for the annual State of the Union address, although many of them now face possible deportation. In December, he went to Las Vegas and Joe Biden, the alleged Democratic presidential nominee, hugged her. At a campaign event, she showed a copy of a service certificate she had received from the White House Communications Agency.
Of the nearly 50 workers who live illegally in the country and who, after Morales’ revelations, said they have worked on Trump properties, none are known to have been deported.