The Trump Organization is instituting E-Verify throughout its organization, including initially at its golf properties, after the company suddenly fired employees the company says are undocumented and in the United States illegally.
E-Verify is a federal virtual system which can be used by employers to verify the authenticity of immigration and naturalization documents. E-Verify employers can match information provided by employees on the Form I-9 against available federal records from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. Use of E-Verify is voluntary for most employers, except those with certain federal contracts or in states and municipalities mandating its use.
“We are instituting E-Verify on all of our properties as soon as possible,” Eric Trump, Trump Organization executive vice president, said Tuesday. “We’re starting with the golf properties, and we are going to be doing all of them.”
This comes on the heels of a Washington Post report which documents the Jan. 18 firing of a number of employees at Trump National Golf Club Westchester in New York. Employees, many of which had been with the organization for years, were told by human resources their I-9 and other documentation was illegal or invalid, with some called forged. Approximately half of the club's winter staff was fired, per the report.
It's unclear if the Trump Organization has continued the firings at other Trump-owned clubs.
The action came a month after a New York Times published a story claiming Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., where Trump has spent many weekends in his term as President, had knowingly employed undocumented immigrants against federal law. Attorneys for the employees said they turned over their fraudulent green cards and Social Security cards they used to substantiate their status with the Trump Organization. The report claims the phony documents were obtained for the employees by club managers.
During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Trump claimed the Trump Organization used E-Verify across all of his properties and called for the mandatory use of E-Verify for all employers. Trump was required to use E-Verify at his Charlotte, N.C., club, as it's mandated by state law. He's also required to use it at venues in Chicago, South Florida and parts of New York.
However, enforcement of E-Verify usage in weak in the eight states (Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah) where it's required, with just 55 percent of new hires in South Carolina using the system in 2017, according to the right-leaning Cato Institute. Just 2 percent of businesses were audited, and only 17 percent of them were cited by the state -- basically 0.34 percent of employers. In Arizona, just 59 percent of 2017 hires were checked through E-Verify.
Only 10 percent of employers nationwide are estimated to be using E-Verify. More than 1,100 entities with golf in their name use E-Verify, including a number of prominent golf management companies, like Billy Casper Golf, that rely on immigrant workers.
There is a similar program in the United Kingdom, where Trump owns the Trump International Golf Club in Aberdeen and Trump Turnberry in Ailsa, both in Scotland. Employers can be fined up to £20,000 for hiring illegal workers.