Whitman admits hiring undocumented housekeeper
September 30, 2010
Meg Whitman admitted Wednesday that she paid an undocumented worker to clean her residence and provide other services in her home for nine years but insisted that she had been unaware of the woman’s immigration status.
The Republican gubernatorial candidate, who has vowed throughout the campaign to crack down on illegal immigration, initially hired Nicandra Diaz Santillan through an employment agency.
Whitman said at the time of hiring that Diaz Santillan showed her a copy of her Social Security card and California driver’s license, and campaign officials distributed those documents to the media.
The former E-Bay CEO said she fired Diaz Santillan in June 2009 after the woman revealed that she was living in the country illegally.
However, Diaz Santillan said at a Wednesday news conference in the office of her attorney, Gloria Allred, that Whitman had been aware she was undocumented and used that knowledge to exploit her on the job.
The allegations bring to mind the failed U.S. Senate campaign of Santa Barbara millionaire Michael Huffington, who barely lost to Dianne Feinstein in 1994 after it was reveal he had also hired undocumented workers.
Just lasr Tuesday night, in the debate against her Democratic opponent, Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, Whitman had reiterated her disapproval of employers who hire illegal immigrants, saying, “We do have to hold employers accountable for hiring only documented workers, and we do have to enforce that law.”
Analysts say the new allegations could hurt Whitman’s standing with Hispanic voters and conservatives who are already upset with her for being too soft on immigration.