STOCKTON (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman told a television host that her former housekeeper, an illegal immigrant, should be deported, but then stepped away from the comment during a campaign stop Thursday.
Appearing on the Greta Van Susteren show on Fox News Wednesday night, Whitman said her former Mexican housekeeper of nine years, Nicky Diaz Santillan, should be deported for forging documents and lying about her immigration status.
“It breaks my heart, but she should be deported because she forged documents and she lied about her immigration status,” Whitman said.
“The law’s the law and we live in a rule of law, it’s important.”
When asked about the comment during a campaign stop in Stockton on Thursday, Whitman returned to her previous stance, saying the decision is up to federal authorities.
“She is here illegally. She’s breaking the law right now, so we’ll leave it for the federal authorities,” Whitman said.
Whitman says she fired Diaz Santillan in June 2009 after learning she was working illegally.
Diaz Santillan upended the governor’s race when she appeared at a news conference last month with celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, saying that Whitman and her husband, Griffith Harsh IV, should have known that she was illegal.
Whitman said Diaz Santillan used a fraudulently obtained Social Security card and California driver’s license when she applied for the job through an employment agency.
Diaz Santillan’s immigration attorney, Mark Van Der Hout, did not immediately return a message left at his San Francisco office Thursday.
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