An undocumented worker who recently worked for Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., and left after she publicly disclosed her immigration status will attend President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next week.
Victorina Morales, who was born in Guatemala, will be a guest of Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a New Jersey Democrat, when the president speaks to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night. Watson Coleman’s office confirmed the decision Wednesday.
The choice to invite Morales follows news stories about the Trump Organization’s failure to fully check the work status of all its employees, even as Trump described illegal immigration as a national crisis and demanded funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Lawmakers — and presidents — often seek to make a statement with the guests they invite to the State of the Union. In 2017, Trump brought the relatives of people whom authorities said were killed by undocumented immigrants. In 2016, President Obama invited a “dreamer” — an undocumented immigrant brought to the United States as a child — who served in the Army. Obama also left a vacant seat to honor victims of gun violence.
Morales has been one of the most vocal of the undocumented workers who have recently gone public to describe their experiences working for Trump’s company. Her story of working as a maid for the golf course was featured in a New York Times story titled, “Making President Trump’s Bed: A Housekeeper Without Papers.”
This week, Morales joined three other former workers on Capitol Hill to petition members of Congress for protection and highlight what their lawyer and some Democratic lawmakers described as potential lawbreaking by the Trump Organization. Two of the four workers said the company helped them obtain false documents to justify their employment, a claim that Eric Trump denied.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) is now gathering signatures for a letter calling on the FBI to launch an investigation. He met with the group Monday.
“The number of immigrants claiming they were employed illegally by the Trump Organization has risen to more than 20 individuals and raises serious questions of criminal activity and numerous violations of employment laws at the Trump Golf Club in Westchester County, N.Y., and Bedminster, N.J. — including conspiracy charges, procuring false documents, and forced and coerced labor,” the letter states.
Eric Trump started managing the Trump Organization’s day-to-day operations with his brother, Donald Trump Jr., when President Trump took office. The president maintains an ownership stake in the company.
Elise Viebeck writes for the Washington Post.