tags: , , America’s Voice Research on Immigration Reform

Report: "Whitman Vs. Whitman on Immigration"

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September 30, 2010 | Download PDF

If the allegations made this week by her former housekeeper turn out to be true, California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman (R) is more than a little hypocritical when it comes to employers who hire undocumented immigrants.  But to those who have been following Whitman’s campaign, such hypocrisy hardly comes as a surprise.  Since the moment she launched her campaign in 2009, Whitman has tried to have it both ways on immigration—as highlighted by a new television ad released today by the SEIU.  On the one hand, she stressed her “tough as nails” approach to immigration during the Republican primary, while on the other hand she tried to soften her approach to appeal to Latino voters, telling them she “respects [their] community.”

Following is a quick recap of the various immigration positions Meg Whitman has held to date.  California voters need to know: if they vote for Meg Whitman on Election Day, which Meg Whitman is on the ballot? 


  • May 2010: In a radio ad called “Tough As Nails,” Whitman promises that as governor, “I’ll create an economic fence to crack down on employers who break the law by hiring illegal labor.” (Los Angeles Times, YouTube)
  • September 2010: Whitman’s former housekeeper, Nicky Díaz Santillan, claims that Whitman knowingly employed her for nine years despite knowing she was an undocumented immigrant, then fired her when she asked for help obtaining legal status. While Whitman’s campaign has released documents showing that Díaz Santillan claimed she could legally work in the United States when she was first hired in 2000, Díaz Santillan’s lawyer promises to release a letter Whitman received from the Social Security Administration in 2003 notifying her that Díaz Santillan’s Social Security number was not valid. (ABC News) 


  • October 2009: At a campaign stop in San Diego, near the U.S./Mexico border, Whitman calls for a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, asking her audience: “Can we get a fair program where people stand at the back of the line, they pay a fine, they do some things that would ultimately allow a path to legalization?”   (Sign On San Diego)
  • September 2010: During her first debate against Democratic opponent Jerry Brown, Whitman said she opposed “a path to legalization” for undocumented immigrants. (Sacramento Bee)


  • February 2009: Whitman announces that former Governor Pete Wilson will serve as her campaign manager. Wilson championed California Proposition 187 in 1994, which would have kept undocumented immigrants from enrolling in public school or using other public services. The proposition passed, but was struck down by the courts. (Meg Whitman for Governor)
  • November 2009: In front of an audience of Latino supporters at a campaign appearance in South El Monte, Whitman apologizes on behalf of the Republican Party for Proposition 187. She says: “We must provide services to children and health care services. It’s the right thing to do and was well decided by the courts. I think it has had an overhang on the Republican Party and I am sorry about that. We need to move beyond that.”  (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
  • May 2010: In her radio ad “Tough As Nails,” Whitman says that “illegal immigrants should not expect benefits from the State of California”—endorsing the principle behind Proposition 187. The ad also features Pete Wilson, who says, “I know how important it is to stop illegal immigration, and I know Meg Whitman. Meg will be tough as nails on illegal immigration.” (Los Angeles Times, YouTube)


  • June 2010: Whitman releases 2 Spanish-language television ads during the World Cup to appeal to Latino voters. The ads say, “She respects our community. She’s the Republican who opposes the Arizona law, and she opposed Proposition 187.” (Sacramento Bee, YouTube) 
  • July 2010: On a radio talk show appearance, Whitman says: “I would let the Arizona law stand for Arizona. […] My view is you gotta let the states do what they gotta do until the federal government proves they can secure these borders.” (Sacramento Bee, Wonk Room) 
  • August 2010: On another appearance on a radio show, Whitman says, “I oppose the Arizona law — have from the beginning.” (Wonk Room) 

For more information on candidates’ immigration positions in the 2010 elections, read this report from America’s Voice.