Puzder: Was “unaware” housekeeper was illegal immigrant

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Shades of Kimba Wood and Zöe Baird? Twenty-four years ago, Bill Clinton’s first two choices for Attorney General had to withdraw from consideration after their employment of illegal immigrants for domestic work emerged. Now Donald Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary, Andy Puzder, finds himself under scrutiny for the same problem:

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“My wife and I employed a housekeeper for a few years, during which I was unaware that she was not legally permitted to work in the U.S.,” Puzder, a fast food executive, said in the statement.

“When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status. We have fully paid back taxes to the IRS and the State of California and submitted all required paperwork regarding her employment.”

This subject also came up in the 2012 election after ambiguous suggestions that contract workers at Mitt Romney’s house may not have all been in the country legally. That only provided a minor distraction to the campaign, however, since it was pretty obvious that people don’t vet employees of someone else’s company when they get hired to do work. Puzder’s situation is more analogous to the Baird and Wood precedents.

One can argue that Puzder isn’t going to be Attorney General and in charge of enforcing immigration law, but then again, the Labor Department has some jurisdiction over employment regulations and enforcement thereof, too. It’s also a little tough to simply dismiss this after a Trump campaign that promised a crackdown on illegal immigrants, especially those who take jobs from legitimate American residents and citizens. This may not be enough to flush Puzder’s confirmation, especially with Harry Reid’s nuclear-option gift to Republicans, but it might embarrass Puzder enough to reconsider whether he wants to go through any more of this.

By the way, if Puzder does reconsider, don’t expect Scott Walker to replace him:

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan offered the suggestion, which he acknowledged was “pure speculation,” at a news conference Monday.

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