Politics & Government

Attorney: Whitman's ex-housekeeper has 20-year U.S. work, tax history

The immigration attorney representing Meg Whitman's former housekeeper and nanny said his undocumented client has been in the United States for nearly 20 years and has a long work history and family ties to bolster her quest for legal residency.

"There are many people who get to stay who were in her circumstances," said Marc Van Der Hout of Nicky Diaz Santillan, housekeeper for Republican gubernatorial candidate Whitman for nine years.

"But these are hard cases," the longtime San Francisco immigration attorney said in an interview Wednesday. He added that as she has worked over the years, "Nicky has paid her taxes the whole time," which helps her quest for legal residency.

Van Der Hout said Diaz Santillan was referred to him within the last couple of months by another lawyer. He said he wouldn't name that attorney as a matter of policy. He said he had no contact with anyone from the campaign of Jerry Brown, Whitman's Democratic rival.

Asked if Brown supporters, including labor union activists, referred Diaz Santillan to him, Van Der Hout reiterated: "I can't go into any of that, who's involved and who referred" the housekeeper to him for immigration law advice.

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