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Trump Organization fires unauthorised labourers

Crackdown comes after it had used such workers to tend to its hotels, golf courses and other properties for years

Several workers at Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia, were fired this week.

New York

FOR years, the Trump Organization used unauthorised workers to tend to its hotels, golf courses and other properties, even as Donald Trump railed against the threat of illegal immigration as both a candidate and president.

Last year, faced with a public reckoning after some of those workers came forward, the organisation started cracking down.

Dozens have been fired. The company vowed to follow what was already a widespread industry practice of using E-Verify checks to confirm employment eligibility. Leaders issued messages to labourers that they would need to show proof that they could work. Immigrants from places like El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico have left their jobs.

Then, on Monday, after harvests were complete at Trump Winery in Virginia, the organisation fired several more.

Anibal Romero, an immigration lawyer who has represented a number of former Trump workers and is advising one of those fired from Trump Winery this week, said the pool of unauthorised labourers at Trump properties has always been an open secret. "He's benefited from undocumented labour for a very long time," Mr Romero said.

A year ago, a New York Times story featured unauthorised workers who served at Mr Trump's properties and had interactions with Mr Trump himself. That article has since led to others from the Times, Univision and The Washington Post, which first reported on Tuesday the latest round of firings at Trump Winery.

Mr Romero said he believed the Trump Organization thought it could get away with continuing to hire unauthorised labourers, who feared repercussions that could disrupt their lives or livelihoods even though some had worked at Trump properties for a decade. But he said that since the Times story last year, more have emerged, empowered to speak. He now represents about 40 people living in the country illegally who have worked at Trump properties.

"These workers have been there for many years," Mr Romero added. "It's sad to hear about their firing. But many of them have been able to move on and get better-paying jobs. At first when you hear about them, you feel bad. But then you realise that maybe it wasn't the best environment to work in." NYTIMES