WINGDALE, N.Y. – One morning in May, Eric Trump sent a text message to the caretaker of the shooting range he and his brother own in upstate New York. The weather was getting warmer, and it was time to plant crops to attract deer that the Trumps and their friends could hunt.
“Juan – how are the fields coming along,” Trump wrote to Juan Quintero. “They need to be planted in the next week or so in order to make the season. Hope you are great.”
“I'm working in it,” Quintero replied.
Quintero, 42, was so trusted by the Trumps that he had not one but two jobs working for the family. He was a greenskeeper at the Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley in Hopewell Junction, New York, where he would work eight-hour shifts on weekdays. Then he would put in five more hours each day as a contractor at the 171-acre hunting retreat called Leather Hill Preserve, which serves as a private weekend playground for President Donald Trump's sons and the property's co-owners.
He also was an immigrant from Mexico who had crossed the border more than two decades ago and was working illegally in the United States.
In January, Quintero lost his golf course job after 18 years of employment – part of a purge of undocumented workers from Trump's businesses amid revelations that the company relied on illegal labor for years, well into Trump's presidency. Gone, too, was his side job at the hunting retreat.
“All of the years you give them, and they just let you go,” Quintero said in a recent interview. “They do not say, 'Let's do something, let's try to help you.' They simply said, 'Your documents are not valid,' and that is it.”
Quintero said he never directly told Eric Trump about his immigration status. But he said he remained employed by the hunting lodge more than a year after not providing the owners with a Social Security number when they sought to issue him a debit card.
Quintero, whose work at the shooting range has not been previously disclosed, is the second undocumented employee to step forward in recent weeks to say he did work directly to assist Eric Trump, who along with brother Donald Trump Jr. has been running the Trump Organization's day-to-day operations.
Eric Trump, who separately owns Leather Hill Preserve with his brother and several other partners, declined to comment. Trump Jr. did not respond to requests for comment. It is unclear whether they knew about Quintero's immigration status.
Census seeking status of immigrants
As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs whether the Trump administration can ask people if they are citizens on the 2020 census, the Census Bureau is quietly seeking comprehensive information about the legal status of millions of immigrants.
Under a proposed plan, the Department of Homeland Security would provide the Census Bureau with a broad swath of personal data about noncitizens, including their immigration status, The Associated Press has learned. A pending agreement between the agencies has been in the works since at least January, the same month a federal judge in New York blocked the administration from adding the citizenship question to the 10-year survey.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in California also declared that adding the citizenship question to the Census was unconstitutional.