Donald Trump outsourced his presidential campaign and took the White House in part by slandering Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists,” but like all the wretched fat cat hypocrites before him, he has benefitted from immigrant labor, specifically undocumented immigrants. In 1998, Trump finally settled an ongoing class-action lawsuit against him after he was sued for underpaying–or not paying at all–the crew of 200 undocumented Polish workers who were tasked with clearing the way for what would become the site of his crown jewel, Trump Tower, back in 1980. Nicknamed the “Polish Brigade,” these workers toiled in dangerous conditions, “without gloves, hard hats or masks,” for as little as $4 an hour throughout 12-hour days:

“Their treatment led to years of litigation over Mr. Trump’s labor practices, and in 1998, despite frequent claims that he never settles lawsuits, Mr. Trump quietly reached an agreement to end a class-action suit over the Bonwit Teller demolition in which he was a defendant.

For almost 20 years the terms of that settlement have remained a secret. But last week, the settlement documents were unsealed by Loretta A. Preska, a United States District Court judge for the Southern District, in response to a 2016 motion filed by Tim Inc. and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Judge Preska found that the public’s right to know of court proceedings in a class-action case was strengthened by the involvement of the “now-president of the United States.”


And a president who consistently maligns immigrants as takers, when in fact it was the alleged billionaire who underpaid blue-collar workers and then spent 15 years fighting them over it. In fact, Trump lied on the stand about having knowledge of their status, saying that “I really still don’t know that there were illegal aliens.” But one labor consultant testified that Trump called him for advice after the contractor he hired stopped paying the workers, with Trump saying “he had some illegal Polish employees,” while the foreman testified Trump frequently visited the site and comment “those Polish guys are good, hard workers.” And though Trump my have changed political parties like an orange chameleon whenever it suits him, the documents show he’s been anti-immigrant through and through:

Mr. Trump did, according to [attorney] Mr. [John] Szabo, have his lawyer call Mr. Szabo with a threat to call immigration and Naturalization Service to have the men deported.

Trump eventually settled for $1.375 million (it’s unclear how much of the money, if any, went to the workers), but continues to exploit both undocumented and documents immigrant labor for his own personal and political gain. The Washington Post revealed in 2015 that undocumented immigrant laborers were helping finish up his $200 million hotel in Washington, D.C. According to the Guardian last year, immigrant workers at his Las Vegas hotel have been overworked and underpaid. In 2016, the hotel was forced to settle for more than $11,000 following charges that higher ups retaliated against hotel employees for union organizing. And at his Mar-a-Lago resort (not the “Winter White House”), the New York Times reported last year that Trump has “pursued more than 500 visas for foreign workers…since 2010.” Buy American and Hire American, indeed.