posted at 2:45 pm on October 1, 2010 by Dafydd ab Hugh
Anent the story which the California (and national!) media have siezed upon to try to derail Meg Whitman’s campaign for governor in California…
Four facts appear undisputed:
- In 2000, Whitman used an employment agency to hire a housekeeper, Nicandra “Nicky” Diaz Santillan, at $23 per hour.
- Santillan had earlier presented the agency with a California driver’s license and Social Security card, copies of which the agency provided Whitman.
- Those documents were in fact fraudulent — they belonged to one of Santilan’s sisters who lived in San Francisco.
- In 2009, Santillan disclosed to Whitman that she was an illegal immigrant and that the papers she had shown to Whitman were fraudulent; at that point, Whitman let her go, as the law requires.
A couple of days ago, grandstanding liberal activist attorney Gloria Allred — who has donated money to Jerry Brown, Whitman’s opponent in the gubernatorial race and an ancient relic of an earlier, loonier time in California history — called a press conference to announce that she was representing Santillan (in what action?), whom she calls her “client.” She triumphantly announced all of the above points, including that Santillan was in the country illegally and had used fraudulent documentation to get herself hired by Whitman. (I’m not sure how this helps her client, unless her real client is Jerry Brown.)
Allred also produced a 2003 letter to Whitman and her husband, Griffith Rutherford Harsh IV, from the Social Security Administration… not from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, as it was called then. The letter “raised discrepancies” about Santillan’s documents, which even AP says was only “a possible tip-off that she could be in the U.S. illegally.”
In fact, as Whizbang reports, the Social Security letter was about retirement and disability insurance… and the only reference it made to immigration was to forcefully note that nothing in the letter should be used to infer Santillan’s immigration status!
The letter is posted in its entirety at TZM Documents, and it includes this paragraph:
This letter does not imply that you or your employee intentionally provided incorrect information about the employee’s name or SSN. It is not a basis, in and of itself, for you to take any adverse action against the employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against the individual. Any employer that uses the information in this letter to justify taking adverse action against an employee may violate state or federal law and be subject to legal consequences. Moreover, this letter makes no statement about your employee’s immigration status.
Allred argues that the letter constituted absolute evidence that Santillan was in the country illegally… and that Whitman must somehow have known about it and realized she was employing an illegal all the way back in 2003.
My problem with this hit job is simple: Can somebody please tell me exactly what charge Gloria Allred is leveling at Whitman? I know this can’t be right, but it seems for all the world as if Allred — liberal activist, immigration activist, and feminist activist — accuses Whitman of failing to harm Allred’s client in a timely manner.
Whitman didn’t fire Santillan in 2003 on the basis of a simple inquiry letter from the SSA — a letter which threatens “legal consequences” against anyone using that letter as the basis of “laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against the individual.” Instead, she waited until Santillan actually informed her she was illegal. Only then did Whitman reluctantly fire her longtime friend and housekeeper, as the law requires.
Am I misunderstanding this? Is Allred’s attack on Whitman really that the gubernatorial candidate failed to jump to conclusions, failed to violate state and federal law, and failed to fire the woman at the first conceivable opportunity, only doing so when she had actual proof that Nicky Diaz Santillan had defrauded her and was breaking the law?
(And suppose Whitman had fired Santillan back in 2003; would that, then, form the basis of Allred’s attack… that Whitman broke the law by discriminating against her friend and employee without any solid evidence of illegality?)
One of the state’s largest public employee unions immediately released a Spanish-language attack ad accusing Whitman of a double standard on illegal immigration.
You mean… one standard for businesses, which requires them actually to investigate the residency status of their employees — and another standard for individuals, which requires only that they not knowingly hire illegals? That’s the “double standard” that outrages the Hispanic community in California?
What would they prefer? A mandate that even private individuals hiring maids, nannies, and housekeepers launch full-scale investigations and background checks to determine who is here legally? I suspect the natural response to such a draconian requirement would be not to hire anyone at all, but simply to make do without.
Somehow I’m not getting the point of this entire hit piece. It appears that an ultra-liberal Jerry Brown surrogate, Gloria Allred, is charging Meg Whitman with failing to racially discriminate against Santillan.
Cross-posted on Big Lizards…
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