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That pinata gets around

How’s this for a shocker? Turns out that there’s a whole bunch of immigrant construction workers — some in America legally, some here illegally, and some who crossed the border illegally and then got legal status — who are building Donald Trump’s newest luxury hotel in Washington DC. Imagine that! And they’re kind of pissed that the guy who ultimately pays for their services is so intent on insisting that illegal immigrants are largely a bunch of violent rapers who have been sent by the Mexican government to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids.

The Washington Post did some nice basic steel-tipped-boot-leather journalism, sending some reporters down to Pennsylvania avenue to talk to workers on the site of the Old Post Office Pavilion, which is being gutted and renovated to become the Trump International Hotel, and darned if they didn’t find them some undocumented workers! Astonishingly, they were slinging construction equipment, not heroin, and if any rape is being committed on the site, it’s probably limited to offenses against architecture and good taste. But that won’t happen until the finish work gets going and they break out the gold leaf.

And what did the WaPo reporters learn from the hardhats about the smeg-head? Turns out that they’ve all been talking about Trump’s innovative “blame Mexicans for everything” campaign strategy, which probably means they need to be working harder and not gossiping. Some worry they may get the boot; others are just pissed at Cabeza de Comadreja Muerta.

“It’s something ironic,” said Ivan Arellano, 29, who is from Mexico and obtained legal status through marriage. He now works as a mason laying the stonework for the lobby floor and walls of what will become the Trump International Hotel.

“The majority of us are Hispanics, many who came illegally,” Arellano said in Spanish. “And we’re all here working very hard to build a better life for our families.”

WaPo reporters talked to about 15 laborers at the Old Post Office site, and found that many of them had illegally crossed the border before making their way to the nation’s capitol, where they don’t seem to be at all aware that they are destroying America from the inside through violent crime and moral rot. Instead, they mostly seemed concerned about putting food on their families. A number of the men had, after entering illegally, obtained legal status by various means, at which point they presumably stopped raping, murdering, and selling drugs.

“Most of the concern is that this escalates into a bigger problem,” said Daniel Gonzalez, 45, a sheet metal worker from El Salvador who crossed the border in the 1980s to escape his country’s civil war. He became a U.S. citizen after a federal immigration judge granted him asylum, he said.

“He might come one day and pretty much tell us to get the heck out of here,” Gonzalez said of Trump.

And yet they deny that the Mexican government sent them across the border with the aim of destroying America, and indeed seem to think that they are making a positive contribution by building things, buying homes, and raising anchor babies who aren’t even on welfare or anything.

“Do you think that when we’re hanging out there from the eighth floor that we’re raping or selling drugs?” Ramon Alvarez, 48, a window worker from El Salvador, said during a break Monday morning just outside the construction site. “We’re risking our lives and our health. A lot of the chemicals we deal with are toxic.”

Another worker on the Old Post Office site, David Montoya, who came from El Salvador in 1997 at the age of 10 and has had temporary protection from deportation (renewable every 18 months) since 2001, told WaPo (“in perfect English”) that he’s a married homeowner who’s living the American Dream:

Montoya reflected on his journey as an immigrant, which now includes three U.S.-born children and a house that he and his wife own in a quiet section of Silver Spring, Md. He noted with pride that he thinks his story — one of coming to a new world, and of hard work paying off — is more impressive than that of the powerful developer whose name adorned the sign behind him as he spoke.

“Actually,” he reflected, “we’re more American than him.”

Oh, Daniel — don’t you know that the American Dream is dead? Donald Trump keeps telling us it’s dead, and to prove it, now that you’ve outed yourself, you probably better update your resume. Nobody is more American than Donald Trump.

Trump Organization Spokeswoman Hope Hicks responded to WaPo’s questions in a written statement that contained the usual boilerplate about how the company and its contractors follow all immigration laws, and if there are any illegals, it’s damn well the contractor’s fault, not that there are any illegals:

“Our contractors are required to have prospective employees produce documentation that establishes identity and employment eligibility in compliance with immigration law,” the ­e-mailed statement said.

Lend Lease, the lead contractor at the site, “requires all contractors performing work at the project to follow all applicable federal, state and local laws,” the statement said.

Trump’s legal counsel, Michael D. Cohen, also said it’s the contractor’s problem, not that there is a problem:

“Mr. Trump, who is the 100 percent owner of the Old Post Office, hired one of the largest contractors in the world to act as the general contractor,” Cohen said in a telephone interview. “That company is Lend Lease. They then go out and employ subcontractors to work for them. The obligation to check all workers on site is exclusive to Lend Lease. This of course assumes that the assertion regarding the employees’ status is accurate.”

Jeez, WaPo, did you even look at their papers or are you going to just believe whatever some Mexican from Colombia or El Salvador tells you? The boss has already made it clear that these people are mostly criminals, but if a Trump subcontractor hires any, they’re obviously among the few “good people” that Trump assumes are being sent by Mexico.

Lend Lease, the actual contractor, didn’t have any comment and was probably busy arranging an unfortunate fire at its HR office.

For his part, Trump yesterday issued a three-page rant in which he insisted that he is the rightest person ever to speak about immigration, repeating his claim that the “Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States” and adding that “tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border.” He noted that “many fabulous people come in from Mexico,” but that “these people are here legally” — no fabulousness for you illegal border-crossers.

Yr Wonkette appreciates the solid work that WaPo’s Antonio Olivo did on his article, and urges him to stay in contact with the workers he interviewed. We know that Donald Trump is a busy man, what with all the campaigning and retweeting flattering messages about himself, but we suspect that he’s always able to make time to get revenge on some filthy immigrant construction workers who dare to suggest that he’s not a genius. How many yooge classy luxury hotels have they built, after all?

[Washington Post via TPM / TPM]

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