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Trump Organization fires undocumented workers at vineyard

Months after press reports revealed that President Trump's companies hired staff without proper documents, Univision has learned that at least six employees were laid off at his Virginia winery.
31 Dic 2019 – 03:06 PM EST
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Trump's vineyard. Crédito: Univision

For years, nobody asked for their documents. But that suddenly changed on Monday, one of the fired workers at Trump's vineyard in Charlottesville, Virginia, told Univison News in a telephone interview.

"They simply called us to the office for lunch to talk to the boss and we were simply told us that our papers were not valid and that for that reason we could not continue working with the company," the employee said.

"They told us that in the US companies cannot have people who do not have documents and that it was not personal. It was simply that they were complying with the law," Omar Miranda, one of the dismissed employees who is from Honduras, told Univison News reporter, Claudia Uceda.

Miranda said he worked at the Trump Winery since 2013, and had previously not been questioned about his documents until Monday.

In an exclusive report in May, Univision revealed the existence of half a dozen undocumented workers at the vineyard, though no action was taken to terminate them at the time. The harvest continued, the grapes were turned into wine, and more income for the Trump family.

One of the former workers described how his firing took three minutes and the explanation he was given:

"In the United States, companies cannot have people who do not have documents and that it was nothing personal. Simply that they were enforcing the law," the employee said.

That raises awkward questions for Trump as he continues his campaign for a second term in the White House, and while Democrats seek to expel him from office through impeachment.

In a video of Trump's vineyard, the company president, Eric Trump, proudly proclaimed that his family is involved in all aspects.

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EXCLUSIVE: Trump vineyard also hired undocumented workers

Earlier this year, one of the workers gave Univision a tour of the property to show how the employees were working in plain sight, despite their fake papers.

Others said they were never questioned about their citizenship or their employment status.

The workers interviewed in May claimed to have worked for several years at Trump's vineyard in Virginia, putting in long hours from sunrise to sunset, without overtime pay.

Trump's vineyard is the largest in Virginia and its fields grow vines that make sparkling, rosé, white and red wines. Trump wines have received several awards. Trump sparkling wines won the Monticello Cup for best wine in the Charlottesville area in 2014 and 2015, and the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc won a double gold medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

In the grounds of the vineyard there is a luxury hotel which also partly relies on undocumented workers, according to two former Honduran employees who worked there.

The Trump Organization has previously told The New York Times that the company has thousands of workers on its properties.

The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment about this week's dismissals.

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