Commentary: Whitman's mixed up immigration policy

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman says she believes that "we are never going to solve the problem of illegal immigration as long as there is strong demand for undocumented labor."

She's right about that. She knows the issue firsthand.

For nine years, Whitman says she unknowingly employed a housekeeper who later confessed she was in the country illegally. Whitman summarily fired her when she found out, she says.

Of 1.6 million housekeepers in the United States, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 417,000 (27 percent) are unauthorized immigrants. Among agricultural workers and some construction-related jobs, it is 30 percent or more. The reality is that only 10 percent of American-born workers today join the low-skilled labor force without completing high school.

So what is Whitman's solution to the shortage? "We have to have a temporary guest worker program," she has said — no path to citizenship. The aim, in blunt terms, would be to add workers but not settlers who put down roots, get married or have children. They'd work, then disappear when no longer wanted.

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