As reported in the Washington Post on 12/31, the Trump Organization fired seven migrant workers at the Trump Winery without appropriate legal work permits.

This happened nearly a year after the Trump Organization pledged to dismiss any workers without immigration papers and work permits, after a story in Market Watch on 1/30/19 that alleged that Trump golf courses in New Jersey were knowingly employing illegal migrant workers. At the time, the Trump Organization pledged to use the E-Verify electronic system at all of its properties to check employees’ documentation.

Omar Miranda, a Honduran migrant who was quoted in the Post story, admitted he had used fake documentation when applying for his position (he was hired under the previous management when it was Kluge Vineyards). Miranda had worked in his position tending the vineyards and harvesting the fruit, sometimes before the sun rose, for more than a decade. Why did it take so long for the Trump Organization to fulfill its pledge to use E-verify systems to purge its employment rolls of illegal migrants, at least in the case of these vineyard workers at Trump Winery?

The Trump Organization has had a pattern of hiring undocumented workers to take advantage of their cheap labor. In this case, maybe it took them nearly a year to fire Miranda and his vineyard co-workers because the management preferred to turn a blind eye to their status until it was politically and practically convenient to drop them when the 2019 harvest was complete and winter pruning was done…and before the 2020 Presidential campaign starts.

As reported in the story in the Post, “Donald Trump has known about these workers for months,” said Anibal Romero, an immigration lawyer who represents many of Trump’s former undocumented employees and is advising Miranda. “He waits until the fields are tended, grapes picked, wine made. He then discards them like a used paper bag. Happy New Year — you’re fired.”

Miranda admits that he used fake documentation when applying for his job. But after the Trump Organization’s pledge eleven months ago to use E-verify to confirm or dismiss any non-legal migrant labor at its properties, you have to wonder just how “shocked” (quoting Claude Rains in Casablanca) they really are to have discovered the illegal status of these seven laborers at such a convenient time.

“The papers one uses, they know it’s something illegal,” Miranda said in the Post interview. “The owner knows. The winemaker knows.”