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Steve Lopez: Meg Whitman has some explaining to do on illegal immigrant housekeeper

September 29, 2010 |  2:31 pm


Pardon me, but I have a few questions here on California's tough-on-immigration gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman, who seems to have had an illegal immigrant in her house for nine years.

TalkBackLopez_187x105Is that not the stuff of great fiction? Whitman says the housekeeper, Nicandra Diaz, had passed herself off as legal and had papers to back her up.

All right. That's believable.

Whitman says the woman acknowledged in 2009 that she was undocumented, fearing that the truth would be dug up in the heat of the campaign.

All right, maybe.

Whitman and her husband were shocked, says Whitman, and immediately fired the housekeeper.

Also believable, even though the housekeeper claims, through attorney Gloria Allred, that Whitman knew she didn't have papers.

But wait a minute. The no-nonsense candidate who opposes a path to legal citizenship, and wants the government to go after businesses that hire illegal immigrants, didn't feel the need to report the housekeeper to authorities when she confessed?

What did she think might happen? That the housekeeper would go back where she came from? That someone else would hire her not knowing she was illegal?

Or did she maybe think to herself, privately, of course, that the housekeeper was a decent person trying to live a better life in a country where wealthy people like Whitman are all too happy to hire them, and not terribly inclined to probe their backgrounds?

What did the Whitmans pay the housekeeper, by the way?

Did they offer health insurance, or let the public pick up the tab at a county hospital, which many illegal immigrants use as a doctor's office.

Do the Whitmans have any other domestics whose papers should be checked?

Does Jerry Brown?

Help me out, readers.

Anybody out there have any more questions for Meg?

-- Steve Lopez

Photo: Nicky Diaz, a former housekeeper for Meg Whitman, breaks down during a news  conference at attorney Gloria Allred's office Wednesday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times