"Well, the answer is: It breaks my heart, but she should be deported, because she forged documents and she lied about her immigration status."
- Meg Whitman, Republican candidate for governor, regarding her former maid Nicandra Diaz Santillan in an interview last night with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren
Whitman's remark was in response to a direct question from Van Susteren while discussing her former housekeeper, Nicandra Diaz Santillan. "Should she be deported?" Van Susteren asked.
The scandal that erupted last month over Whitman's employing Diaz, an undocumented immigrant, for nine years then firing her last year after deciding to run for governor has threatened to derail her campaign against Democratic candidate and state Attorney General Jerry Brown, causing her to lose ground in particular among Latino voters.
Diaz came out in late September about her former employer and her immigration status during a press conference with Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, revealing that she been working for Whitman’s family illegally and that she was fired in June 2009 after she approached the family to ask for help gaining legal status.
The Whitman campaign has referred to it as a political smear tactic. The family hired Diaz through an agency, and Whitman has insisted she did not know that Diaz was here illegally until she told her, in spite of a Social Security Administration no-match letter that would have raised a red flag.
Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, has referred to Diaz in media interviews as having been "a part of our extended family."
In yesterday's interview, Whitman continued after answering: "...and it breaks my heart. Gloria Allred pulled off a political stunt, and you know what, on November third, no one is going to care about Nicky Diaz. But the law is the law..."
A short piece in the Huffington Post has the video clip from Fox.