“While I honestly do not recall receiving this letter, as it was sent to me seven years ago, I can say it is possible that I would’ve scratched a follow up note on a letter like this, which is a request for information to make certain Nicky received her Social Security benefits and W-2 tax refund for withheld wages. Since we believed her to be legal, I would have had no reason to suspect that she would not have filled it in and done what was needed to secure her benefits.
“It is important to note what this letter actually says: ‘this letter makes no statement about your employee’s immigration status.’
“The essential fact remains the same, neither Meg nor I believed there was a problem with Nicky’s legal status and I certainly don’t recall ever discussing it with my wife, nor did I ever show her any letter about it. The facts of this matter are very clear: Ms. Diaz broke the law and lied to us and to the employment agency. When she confessed her deception to us last year, we ended her employment immediately. Meg and I played by the rules and followed the law. Ms. Diaz did not. If, as she claims, she received this letter and note of inquiry from me, she never answered my request to look into this. Instead, she choose to continue her deception. This entire matter is a sad one and it’s timing is clearly the result of a calculated and cynical political smear by Meg’s opponents.”
TMZ has a five-minute audio clip of the conference call her team held this afternoon running through her husband’s statement and explaining why the Social Security letter doesn’t really prove what Allred thinks it proves. (The first third of the clip is devoted to reading the statement, so skip that.) It helps to have a copy of the letter open in your browser to follow along; I’ve reproduced the key part below to make it easier.
Their defense, as I understand it, is to argue that this “red-flag no-match letter” from SSA didn’t actually raise any red flags about immigration. (As you can see above, the letter explicitly states that it “makes no statement about your employee’s immigration status.”) When you read it carefully, all it says is that there’s some recordkeeping discrepancy related to Diaz’s W-2, which could mean any number of things; her lawyer points out that Diaz acknowledged on page two of the document that she goes by two different names, which Whitman’s husband might have believed was the true cause of the mix-up.
Likewise, the section on recommended action asks employers to do little more than make sure the name and number on the employee’s Social Security card match the name and number in the SSA letter. That’s where I get confused, though: Did they match? Allred redacted the form for privacy reasons so we can’t tell if the number blacked out above matches the one on the bogus Social Security card that Diaz presented to the Whitmans. The whole point of a letter like this in the immigration context, I thought, is to tell the employer that the number being used by their employee is assigned to a different name in the SSA database. That’s why it’s known as a red-flag letter, yes? But without knowing what the database says — and there’s nothing about that on the form, as far as I see — there’s nothing for Whitman or her husband to compare Diaz’s information to. Essentially, they’re forced to compare Diaz’s false documents to Diaz’s recitation of the numbers on those false documents, which is moronic. Is that right, or have I misread something here?