Are There Any Legal Nannies In This Country?
In the very unlikely event that you did not get enough of Nicky Diaz at the Nicky Diaz press conference yesterday, CalBuzz has a thorough (or at least long) analysis of the story and why it is important to the race for California governor.
I'm gonna go ahead and…disagree a little bit with Jerry Roberts and/or Phil Trounstine's description of Diaz' press conference as "very powerful stuff." Everybody in Los Angeles can cry on demand. It is not credible that even the most monogamous among us would be so broken up about getting dumped by Meg Whitman more than a year after the fact.
Diaz' decision to start out the press conference by fleeing it could be spun as coming from a victim's emotional jitters, but what it looked like was a shady witness having doubts about her own testimony. Gloria Allred's lack of preparation in this instance makes me wonder when she last tried a case.
Even less persuasive is the documentary evidence [pdf] that Whitman did not sign Diaz' I-9 form. Unless you can provide evidence that Whitman was given this form by Diaz, it doesn't prove anything except that Whitman had no reason to believe Diaz was illegal—which is what Whitman is (not very credibly) claiming. As best I can understand the Diaz/Allred timeline, by this point Whitman had already been shown a Social Security card and a California driver's license by Diaz.
You might make the case that Whitman should have confronted Diaz and said, "Hey Nicky, we need to sign a form and send it to Attorney General Reno proving that you're in this country legally and able to work—and I know you've already affirmed both of those things in your application [pdf] with the employment agency, but hey, let's just be on the safe side," because of course, any time you hire a person with a Spanish-sounding name you should pry into that person's immigration status. But that's not the America most of us want to live in, and it's certainly not the California anybody would be able to live in.
This doesn't mean the story has no significance. Just look at how the Democratic Jerry Brown supporters at the Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee are reacting:
"We need equal justice for both the illegal alien and the employer," said William Gheen, President of ALIPAC. "Nicky Diaz should be charged and deported and Meg Whitman should face the existing penalties under current US law as well. No Amnesty for Whitman or Diaz, the Rule of Law must be restored in America."
To the extent this story reflects on Meg Whitman, the worst thing you can say is that it makes her seem like a shrewd and ruthless boss—and Whitman hasn't exactly been bowling people over with her cuddliness up to this point. That she is apparently indifferent to form-signing and motive-scrutinizing actually enhances her campaign image as an enemy of bureaucratic red tape. If Whitman is mean to the hired help, well, Sacramento needs more of that.