California’s Republican candidate for governor, Meg Whitman, allegedly hired an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper for nearly a decade, reports TMZ. Nicky Diaz Santillan says that she worked for $23 per hour, even though Whitman knew she was undocumented and Santillan was abused and exploited, states her lawyer, Gloria Allred.
When Whitman decided to run for governor, Santillan was fired because Whitman knew she’d be a liability to her. She says that Whitman knew she was in the country illegally because the Social Security number Santillan gave her didn’t match up to her name, and Whitman never said anything. Santillan is filing a claim with the Labor Commission for back pay.
Other politicians have had issues with illegal immigrants in the past on this hot-button issue. Meg Whitman is not the first candidate to have an undocumented on her staff, and probably won’t be the last. Here’s how some other examples stack up to Whitman’s.
When Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s confirmation hearings in the Senate came up for review, there were several questions asked of him regarding his past finances. Amongst the issues included not paying the proper amount of Social Security taxes on his income and also briefly hiring an undocumented worker, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Despite learning of these mistakes, Geithner was confirmed by the full Senate with Democratic and Republican support. Geithner said the mistake was quickly rectified after he learned his housekeeper didn’t have the proper papers to work in the United States.
Britain’s Telegraph reported in 2001 that George W. Bush’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, Linda Chavez, withdrew her nomination after it was learned an illegal Guatemalan immigrant was living in her house. If she were a candidate to be Secretary of Labor, she would surely know that someone in her employ would be an illegal immigrant.
Chavez claims she was trying to help Marta Mercado immigrate to the United States. When it was discovered Ms. Mercado was on the payroll of Chavez, it became clear she had lost the support of Democrats and labor unions, and her nomination was withdrawn.
Jim Gibbons is a long-time politician from Nevada who ran for governor in 2006 after five terms in the House. The Republican was a hard-liner when it came to immigration reform and was way ahead in pre-election polls.
His house of cards came crashing down when it was revealed, amongst other allegations, that Gibbons had knowingly hired an illegal immigrant as a babysitter between 1987 and 1993, according to the Washington Post. Gibbons’ wife denied the allegations but legal papers showed that Dawn Gibbons tried to obtain legal papers for her babysitter and always paid her in cash.
The timing of the announcement against Meg Whitman is very interesting. It happened less than a day after her first debate, in which she proclaimed that companies should be held accountable for knowingly hiring undocumented workers. If Democrat Jerry Brown is smart, his campaign will run amok with this accusation for at least a week as he drives home the need for immigration reform. Unless Brown has some skeletons in his closet that may cause a scandal, then it appears this issue may sink Whitman’s campaign altogether.
TMZ, the Wall Street Journal, the Telegraph, and the Washington Post supplied information for this article.