California Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman, who has spoken out during her campaign against the hiring of illegal workers, announced yesterday that she paid an undocumented immigrant to clean her home and provide other services for nine years. Whitman claims she was unaware of the immigration status of the housekeeper, Nicandra Diaz Santillan. But Santillan says Whitman had been aware and that she was using that knowledge to exploit her. Whitman insists that she fired Diaz Santillan in June 2009 after she revealed that she had been living in the country illegally. The issue has the potential to put a major crimp in Whitman's gubernatorial bid. It was only the previous night when Whitman said in a debate against her Democratic opponent, California Attorney General Jerry Brown, "We do have to hold employers accountable for hiring only documented workers, and we do have to enforce that law." Not only does the matter seem to contradict her stance on immigration, but Whitman's alleged mistreatment of Diaz Santillan could jeopardize her efforts to reach out to Latino voters, a voting bloc critical to her success. [Read more about immigration reform.]
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