Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Meg Whitman and the Perils of Employing Illegal Help: Six Memorable Cases

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Meg Whitman and the Perils of Employing Illegal Help: Six Memorable Cases

Article excerpt

Meg Whitman, California GOP gubernatorial candidate, is alleged to have employed a housekeeper from 2000 to 2009 even though she knew the woman was in the US illegally. It's a political bombshell for Ms. Whitman. The politics of household employment and immigration have proved tricky before. Here are six prominent cases, plus the allegations against Whitman.

Meg Whitman, California GOP gubernatorial candidate, is alleged to have employed a housekeeper from 2000 to 2009 even though she knew the woman was in the US illegally. It's a political bombshell for Ms. Whitman. The politics of household employment and immigration have proved tricky before. Here are six prominent cases, plus the allegations against Whitman.

#7 Meg Whitman

Does Meg Whitman have a household help problem? Perhaps. A former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz, has said she was in the US illegally while she was working for Ms. Whitman. Ms. Diaz also alleges that Whitman was told years ago by the federal government that she might be an illegal immigrant - but that Whitman did nothing about this notification.

Whitman has strenuously denied the allegation, and said she received no such letter from the US. She fired Diaz when she found out her immigration status, she says.

Whether this will hurt Whitman in her gubernatorial contest remains to be seen.

#6 Tim Geithner

The Senate confirmed President Obama's secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, for his current job despite a flap over Mr. Geithner's employment of an illegal housekeeper. When Geithner hired the woman to clean his home in 2004 she had immigration papers that allowed her to work. Those expired while she was in Geithner's employ, however. She worked illegally for three months before obtaining a green card allowing her to stay in the country.

#5 Mitt Romney

When running for president in 2007, GOP candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was ensnared in a more indirect type of illegal-worker problem. He fired a firm that provided landscape services to his Belmont, Mass., home after the Boston Globe revealed that the company in question, Community Lawn Service with a Heart, had a pattern of hiring illegal immigrants.

The Globe had first reported on the firm's use of illegal workers in 2006. But Romney fired the firm only after a second round of reports by the paper in 2007. At the time, he said that he gave Community Lawn a second chance, and that it had promised to use only legal workers. "The company's failure to comply with the law is disappointing and inexcusable," said Romney in December 2007.

#4 Michael Huffington

Political problems caused by illegal nannies have surfaced in California politics before. In 1994, Rep. Michael Huffington (R) acknowledged that from 1989 until 1993 he had employed an illegal immigrant as a nanny at his home in Santa Barbara. At the time, Mr. Huffington was running against incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein for a Senate seat, and he was a vigorous supporter of state Proposition 187, which would have prohibited illegal residents from using health care, public education, and other government social services. …

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