Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2017. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Topics

Chavez Criticized for Anti-Labor Stands and, Along with Christi Whitman, for Possibly Hiring An Undocumented Immigrant

StoryJanuary 09, 2001
Watch iconWatch Full Show

Linda Chavez, Bush’s nominee for the Department of Labor and Christie Whitman, slated to head the Environmental Protection Agency, are implicated in using undocumented immigrants as domestic laborers. Whitman had acknowledged in 1993 that she hired a Portuguese couple who were in the country illegally and failed to pay the requisite Social Security taxes.

In Chavez’s case, the nominee is falling afoul of the very regulations she will be called on to enforce if she is confirmed for the top labor post. Chavez either harbored or hired an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant for two years.

According to Chavez, she housed Marta Mercado as an act of charity and the more than $1,000 a year she gave the immigrant was not compensation for household chores, but simply a handout. Nonetheless, the Department of Labor says that domestic workers— like housekeepers, cooks, and baby sitters— are covered by federal wage laws if they earn at least $1,000 a year or work more than eight hours a week.

Mercado was living with Chavez when President Clinton’s nominees for Attorney General were derailed for employing undocumented immigrants. At the time, Chavez criticized the nominations.

Issues of wages or taxes aside, it is illegal to "harbor" an undocumented immigrant. Although Chavez says she was unaware of Mercado’s legal status, Mercado says she told Chavez she was illegally in the US while living with the nominee.

Almost lost in the debate over Chavez’s relationship with Mercado are Chavez’s qualifications for Labor Secretary as well as the plight of the country’s undocumented workers, forced to work for substandard wages and denied fundamental rights. Today, we focus on those crucial issues.

Guests:

  • Cathi Tactaquin, Director, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
  • Ai-Jen Poo, Organizer, Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV)
  • Jack Martin, Special Projects Coordinator, Federation for American Immigration Reform; Retired Foreign Service Officer, State Department.

Related Links:


The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation