Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Trump workers talk

 Donald Trump’s recent comments about drug dealers and rapists crossing into the U.S. from Mexico aren’t sitting well with some of the workers building a new Trump hotel in downtown Washington. The Washington Post says the job site is laden with tension in the wake of Trump’s remarks, since it’s Latin American immigrants who are doing the bulk of the work. The Post, in fact, says Trump’s company may be relying on some undocumented workers to finish the $200 million hotel, which will sit five blocks from the White House. A Trump spokeswoman said the company and its contractors follow all applicable laws. But some workers said they are now worried about their jobs.

At Trump hotel site, immigrant workers wary

Workers leave the site of the future Trump International Hotel, which is at the site of the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

For weeks, dozens of construction workers from Latin America have streamed onto the site of the Old Post Office Pavilion in downtown Washington and taken pride in their work building one of the city’s newest luxury hotels.
But that job site is now laden with tension after the man behind the project — billionaire developer Donald Trump — put himself at the center of the nation’s debate over illegal immigration.
Trump garnered headlines — and prompted several business associates to sever relations with him — when he launched his bid for the Republican presidential nomination last month with a controversial description of drug dealers and “rapists” crossing the border each day into the United States from Mexico.
But a Trump company may be relying on some undocumented workers to finish the $200 million hotel, which will sit five blocks from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, according to several who work there. A Trump spokeswoman said the company and its contractors follow all applicable laws. But in light of Trump’s comments, some of the workers at the site said they are now worried about their jobs — while others simply expressed disgust over the opinions of the man ultimately resAll of them said they have been talking about Trump ever since his inflammatory remarks dominated coverage of his presidential announcement on June 16.
“It’s something ironic,” said Ivan Arellano, 29, who is from Mexico and obtained legal status through marriage. He now works as a mason laying the stonework for the lobby floor and walls of what will become the Trump International Hotel.
“The majority of us are Hispanics, many who came illegally,” Arellano said in Spanish. “And we’re all here working very hard to build a better life for our families.”
Interviews with about 15 laborers helping renovate the Old Post Office Pavilion revealed that many of them had crossed the U.S-Mexico border illegally before they eventually settled in the Washington region to build new lives.ponsible for the creation of those jobs.

Several of the men, who hail mostly from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, have earned U.S. citizenship or legal status through immigration programs targeting Central Americans fleeing civil wars or natural disasters. Others quietly acknowledged that they remain in the country illegally.
“Most of the concern is that this escalates into a bigger problem,” said Daniel Gonzalez, 45, a sheet metal worker from El Salvador who crossed the border in the 1980s to escape his country’s civil war. He became a U.S. citizen after a federal immigration judge granted him asylum, he said.
“He might come one day and pretty much tell us to get the heck out of here,” Gonzalez said of Trump.
Several of the laborers — who travel to work from as far away as Baltimore or Manassas, Va., every day — fumed at Trump’s comments, saying that they have led honest lives that have allowed them to buy homes and raise U.S.-born children.
“Do you think that when we’re hanging out there from the eighth floor that we’re raping or selling drugs?” Ramon Alvarez, 48, a window worker from El Salvador, said during a break Monday morning just outside the construction site. “We’re risking our lives and our health. A lot of the chemicals we deal with are toxic.”
In response to questions from The Washington Post, Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, issued a statement saying that the company and its contractors followed all applicable U.S. immigration laws when hiring the site’s several hundred workers.
“Our contractors are required to have prospective employees produce documentation that establishes identity and employment eligibility in compliance with immigration law,” the ­e-mailed statement said.
Lend Lease, the lead contractor at the site, “requires all contractors performing work at the project to follow all applicable federal, state and local laws,” the statement said.
Michael D. Cohen, executive vice president and legal counsel to Trump, said the question of illegal hiring practices had not arisen before at a Trump work site.
“Mr. Trump, who is the 100 percent owner of the Old Post Office, hired one of the largest contractors in the world to act as the general contractor,” Cohen said in a telephone interview. “That company is Lend Lease. They then go out and employ subcontractors to work for them. The obligation to check all workers on site is exclusive to Lend Lease. This of course assumes that the assertion regarding the employees’ status is accurate.”
A spokeswoman for Lend Lease declined to comment on any aspects of the project, which is expected to be finished by early 2016.
Hicks, also a spokeswoman for Trump’s political operation, said the campaign had no comment on the matter.
Trump’s comments about illegal immigration — which included a promise to “build a great, great wall on our southern border” and bill Mexico for the cost — reflect deep-rooted concerns among conservative voters over the effect of illegal immigration in the United States. Yet, concerns raised by workers at one of his company’s real estate ventures reveal the complexities of an issue that has long polarized the country.

The rapid rejection of Trump’s comments by some of his business partners may also reflect how perilous a topic immigration is, not just for Trump but the entire Republican presidential field.
Trump’s comments were popular with conservative activists across the country — and may even have helped elevate his status, with polls in the early nominating states Iowa and New Hampshire showing him gaining ground. But they were less popular among an increasingly diverse general electorate that serves as a consumer base for the influential corporate entities that were quick to distance themselves from the mogul’s remarks.
The NBC television network, the Macy’s department store chain and several other businesses have since severed ties with Trump — part of a backlash that has cheered Democrats and caused worry among Republicans seeking to win more Latino votes.
On Monday, several hundred people had also signed an online petition asking D.C. chef José Andrés to “dump Trump” by backing out of his deal to open the flagship restaurant at Trump’s hotel.
At the mammoth construction site in Washington that bears Trump’s name, workers said the controversy has caused some worry as they sandblast through layers of chipped paint in the 114-year-old building, install air-conditioning systems that will cool the new hotel’s 271 guest rooms, or cling to a scaffolding while they install windows.
The site is a bustling microcosm of blue-collar work life in Washington — with soaring turrets and a majestic clock tower that evoke the building’s heyday as the District’s main post office in the early 20th century.
Trucks roll in and out of the construction site carrying heavy loads of cement or carting off piles of debris. Over the din of surrounding traffic, foremen yell instructions to their charges, urging them to press forward on a project that will also include a massive ballroom, high-end restaurants and two luxurious suites in the former offices of the postmaster general.
Arms covered in dust, crowds of men recently took a break just outside the site while still wearing their hard hats and bright yellow construction vests, smoking cigarettes or arguing about sports in both English and Spanish.

Ahmad Samadi, 26, a site foreman who arrived last year from Afghanistan under U.S. political asylum, said he has had to learn some Spanish to communicate with his crew. “Most of the workers here are migrants,” he said. Pausing, Samadi added about Trump: “I don’t think it’s right, what he said. They’re hard workers.”
For David Montoya, 28, Trump’s comments are a harsh reminder that anyone who is not a U.S. citizen is vulnerable to stricter immigration laws in the country. A truck driver at the hotel site, Montoya arrived from El Salvador in 1997, gaining temporary protected status from deportation in 2001. “Every 18 months, I have to get it renewed,” he said, in perfect English, adding that he dreams of permanent legal status.
Montoya reflected on his journey as an immigrant, which now includes three U.S.-born children and a house that he and his wife own in a quiet section of Silver Spring, Md. He noted with pride that he thinks his story — one of coming to a new world, and of hard work paying off — is more impressive than that of the powerful developer whose name adorned the sign behind him as he spoke.

Actually,” he reflected, “we’re more American than him.”


  1. Meh, Trump is THIS year's voice of the "Fuck You Minority" (wow, that works with or without a comma between You and Minority) who openly welcome the rhetoric of pointing out the wetbacks from Mexico and killing us, literally and figuratively. Plenty of American businesses made money off of them for years while Americans in general have benefited from cheaper prices because of exploitive labor. Now they are outbreeding whitey and voting Democratic as well. I'll admit, the presence of illegals puts downward pressure on wages and it seems pretty undeniable that the southern border is also an access point for drug smuggling. That said, Trump doesn't have an answer either so he does the only thing he can do, which is bitch about it and raise money off it. Once again, exploiting the illegals.

  2. I read daily about how we must seal our southern border, fair enough. But I hear nothing about what we would do with the 11 Million illegals or so who are currently living in the U.S. Rounding up and deporting them would be a multi billion dollar proposition. Why aren't the Presidential candidates discussing that? I know why, because they have no answer. So they view illegal immigration with alarm but ignore the problem of what to do with the illegals who are already here.

    1. And what exactly are Obama's and HRC's solutions? If you think there are only 11 million illegals here you are brain dead. How does anyone know how many are here? Why hasn't wage growth kept up?

      Trump is in many ways a clown. But this issue needs to be discussed at the highest level. He is sacrificing a lot to step forward. The debates will expose the old GOP do nothings. FOX is licking their chops at a ratings bonanza in August.

      What is your solution Mick?

    2. And Mick, how much do you think it costs to allow the illegals to remain in the US.

      In 2010, the average unlawful immigrant household received around $24,721 in government benefits and services while paying some $10,334 in taxes. This generated an average annual fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of around $14,387 per household. This cost had to be borne by U.S. taxpayers. Amnesty would provide unlawful households with access to over 80 means-tested welfare programs, Obamacare, Social Security, and Medicare. The fiscal deficit for each household would soar.

      Illegal Immigration Costs U.S. $113 Billion a Year, Study Finds

      The cost of harboring illegal immigrants in the United States is a staggering $113 billion a year -- an average of $1,117 for every “native-headed” household in America -- according to a study conducted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

      PAy a one time cost or pay every year forever.

    3. But Lou here's the problem with your post. To get government benefits one needs a valid SS # and illegals don't have one. I think this estimate is way over the top. Illegals live in the shadows and they aren't coming out to go to any government office for anything. Now you will talk of anchor babies next. Well if those children were born in the uS they are as American as my children or your children whether you agree or not it is a fact. So if that household gets government benefits for those children then those benefits are not going to an illegal alien but a legitimate US citizen. It's right in our constitution what qualifies as a native born citizen and these children do qualify. Nowhere does it say the parents have to be here legally. The requirement is just to be born here. But for all the bitching about the abuse of our constitution you want to conveniently skip over that part.

    4. The government can't keep track of HRC'S or Lois Lerner s emails and we are going to trust them to estimate the number of illegals?

      They send out billions each year in overpayments and we are going to trust them to count people coming over an open boarder?

      They can't even find hundreds of billions in budget over runs and we are going to rely on their information?

      Get real.

  3. http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/06/22/20110622us-border-security-huge-costs-mixed-results.html