THE WASHINGTON POST OSSINING, N.Y. — For nearly two decades, the Trump Organization has relied on a roving crew of Latin American employees to build fountains and waterfalls, sidewalks and rock walls at the company’s winery and its golf courses from New York to Florida.
Other employees at Trump clubs were so impressed by the laborers — who did strenuous work with heavy stone — that they nicknamed them “Los Picapiedras,” Spanish for “the Flintstones.”
For years, their ranks have included workers who entered the United States illegally, according to two former members of the crew. Another employee, still with the company, said that remains true today.
President Trump “doesn’t want undocumented people in the country,” said one worker, Jorge Castro, a 55-year-old immigrant from Ecuador without legal status who left the company in April after nine years. “But at his properties, he still has them.”
Castro said he worked on seven Trump properties, most recently Trump’s golf club in Northern Virginia. He provided The Washington Post with several years of his pay stubs from Trump’s construction company, Mobile Payroll Construction LLC, as well as photos of him and his colleagues on Trump courses and text messages he exchanged with his boss, including one in January dispatching him to “Bedminster,” Trump’s New Jersey golf course.
Another immigrant who worked for the Trump construction crew, Edmundo Morocho, said he was told by a Trump supervisor to buy fake identity documents on a New York street corner. He said he once hid in the woods of a Trump golf course to avoid being seen by visiting labor union officials.
The hiring practices of the little-known Trump business unit are the latest example of the chasm between the president’s derisive rhetoric about immigrants and his company’s long-standing reliance on workers who cross the border illegally.
And it raises questions about how fully the Trump Organization has followed through on its pledge to more carefully scrutinize the legal status of its workers — even as the Trump administration launched a massive raid of undocumented immigrants, arresting about 680 people in Mississippi this week.