California's Republican gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman, is getting hit from all sides today on immigration-- not just because of her flip-flopping on the topic, but because of the shocking allegations being brought forward by her nanny of
September 30, 2010

California's Republican gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman, is getting hit from all sides today on immigration-- not just because of her flip-flopping on the topic, but because of the shocking allegations being brought forward by her nanny of nine years, Nicky Diaz Santillan.

At a press conference yesterday, the former housekeeper choked back tears as she described her treatment by Whitman:

Santillan said she asked Whitman for help in finding an immigration attorney in June 2009, and explained to her that she moved from Mexico because she had "no job, no food, no place to live, and for that reason we made a decision to move here."

Whitman terminated her not long after she made the appeal, Santillan said, telling her, "don't say anything to my children, I will tell them you already have a new job and that you want to go to school and from now on, you don't know me and I don't know you. You never have seen me, and I have never seen you. Do you understand me?

Whitman "treat me as if I was not a human being," Santillan added, suggesting the candidate was "throwing me away like a piece of garbage."

Now, SEIU has released ads that take Whitman on over both her immigration positions and the nanny scandal (in Spanish):

"Meg Whitman says she’s a different kind of Republican, but Pete Wilson is in charge of her campaign," says the narrator. "Whitman attacks undocumented workers to win votes, but an undocumented woman worked in her home for nine years."

"Whitman says one thing in Spanish --- and something different in English," says the ad. "The real Meg Whitman has no shame. She’s a two-faced woman.

But Whitman is getting hit from all sides. Via Media Matters, the conservative anti-immigration group ALIPAC is even calling for Whitman’s arrest:

"We need equal justice for both the illegal alien and the employer," said William Gheen, President of ALIPAC. "Nicky Diaz should be charged and deported and Meg Whitman should face the existing penalties under current US law as well. No Amnesty for Whitman or Diaz, the Rule of Law must be restored in America."

Now, I’m no fan of the A-word, nor do I know whether these allegations add up (Whitman's camp has claimed they are merely a political stunt), but this situation is certainly rich with irony given Whitman's positions on “Amnesty” to date.  

Since the moment she launched her campaign in 2009, Whitman has tried to have it both ways on immigration.  On the one hand, she stressed her “tough as nails” approach to immigration during the Republican primary, while on the other hand she tried to soften her approach to appeal to Latino voters, telling them she “respects [their] community.”

My organization, America’s Voice, sets the record straight in a new report entitled, "Whitman Vs. Whitman on Immigration."

Here are a couple highlights:


  • October 2009: At a campaign stop in San Diego, near the U.S./Mexico border, Whitman calls for a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, asking her audience: “Can we get a fair program where people stand at the back of the line, they pay a fine, they do some things that would ultimately allow a path to legalization?”   (Sign On San Diego)
  • September 2010: During her first debate against Democratic opponent Jerry Brown, Whitman said she opposed “a path to legalization” for undocumented immigrants. (Sacramento Bee)


  • February 2009: Whitman announces that former Governor Pete Wilson will serve as her campaign manager. Wilson championed California Proposition 187 in 1994, which would have kept undocumented immigrants from enrolling in public school or using other public services. The proposition passed, but was struck down by the courts. (Meg Whitman for Governor)
  • November 2009: In front of an audience of Latino supporters at a campaign appearance in South El Monte, Whitman apologizes on behalf of the Republican Party for Proposition 187. She says: “We must provide services to children and health care services. It's the right thing to do and was well decided by the courts. I think it has had an overhang on the Republican Party and I am sorry about that. We need to move beyond that.”  (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
  • May 2010: In her radio ad “Tough As Nails,” Whitman says that “illegal immigrants should not expect benefits from the State of California”—endorsing the principle behind Proposition 187. The ad also features Pete Wilson, who says, “I know how important it is to stop illegal immigration, and I know Meg Whitman. Meg will be tough as nails on illegal immigration.” (Los Angeles Times, YouTube)

The new report contains plenty on Whitman’s on-again off-again support for Arizona’s controversial immigration law. But most ironic, perhaps:

In a radio ad called “Tough As Nails,” Whitman promises that as governor, “I’ll create an economic fence to crack down on employers who break the law by hiring illegal labor.” (Los Angeles Times, YouTube)

Firedoglake's David Dayen has more on "nannygate:"

Whitman said in her press conference that, once an employment agency found Santillan for her, she took over and became the employer, paying payroll taxes and giving Santillan her check. But they are, per the SSA, supposed to ask the employee to check on the discrepancy. That’s apparently what Whitman’s husband did. The larger point is that Whitman lied about not receiving the letter, and not knowing about Santillan’s legal status.

This latest scandal aside, Whitman's (hypocritical) immigration record speaks for itself.

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