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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

TREASURY SECRETARY DESIGNEE HAS ILLEGAL NANNY PROBLEM

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Tim Geithner joins a long list of nominees over the last two decades who have seen their nominations jeopardized over having employed an illegally present immigrant. The most famous case involved President Clinton's first nomination for Attorney General, Zoe Baird. Ms. Baird's nomination was derailed after it was learned that she had hired an illegally present immigrant as a nanny to her children. Clinton's next nominee Kimba Wood had her nominationed scuttled over the same issue (except that unlike Baird, Wood paid taxes on her nanny's wages). The childless Janet Reno was the third choice, though coming from South Florida, I suppose the odds of her having employed a household worker with immigration problems might have been high as well.

A few months after the Wood and Baird debacles, Clinton nominated Judge Stephen Breyer for a US Supreme Court Justice seat and it was learned that he too had employed an illegally present immigrant in his household. But by this point, Congress was starting to figure out that if this was now the standard for holding high office, the pool of qualified candidates would shrink dramatically. So Breyer was confirmed.

The issue didn't pop up again until the Bush Administration's nomination of Linda Chavez to be the Secretary of Labor during his first term in office. Her nomination collapsed when it was learned she had an illegally present immigrant living in her home.

And there are several others where the issue has arisen. It does seem that one distinguishing point in teh various cases is whether the nominee would have any direct responsibility for administering immigration laws. At the time of the Baird and Wood nominations, the Immigration and Naturalization Service was in the Department of Justice, the department overseen by the Attorney General. And Chavez probably faced more problems because the Labor Department plays an important role in employment-based immigrant visa processing.

And that is why I think Geithner will be able to get past the nanny question. Were we talking about DHS Secretary, I think the story might be different.

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Comments

  1. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    My understanding is that Geithner did not employ an illegally present immigrant. He employed someone who's employment was unauthorized, i.e. past expiration of the EAD. It is, of course, possible that this person was illegally present at the time, too, but I think it was a question of unauthorized work, not presence.
  2. Another voice's Avatar
    Qualified guy, it would be unfortunate if he does not become Treasury secretary over this, we need a heavy weight during this crisis!!!
  3. Sid's Avatar
    There's no shortage of qualified people to head the Treasury. Bob Rubin, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner are all qualified but along with Greenspan, Bernanke and Paulson, were dead wrong about the risks involved with the securitization of mortgages and deregulation of the financial system. They routinely ridiculed anyone opposed to their views. Among Obama's economic advisors, only Paul Volcker had spoken up about these issues. It's not going to be a disaster for the U.S. if Geithner didn't become the Treasury Secretary.
  4. Sam's Avatar
    Exactly Sid , There are many people who are as qualified as Tim Geithner and dont have tax/nanny problems.

    As far as I understand this guy is pretty brilliant, For such a brilliant person, I would expect him to know his tax obligations.



  5. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "There are many people who are as qualified as Tim Geithner and dont have tax/nanny problems. "

    Maybe not tax problems, but an illegal nanny - that's as American as an apple pie!

    As far as tax obligations go, can you right off the top of your head say if someone who has maxed out his/her SS contributions with the W2 employer has to pay "the other" (employer) half of SS contributions on 1099 side income?
  6. Sam's Avatar
    "As far as tax obligations go, can you right off the top of your head say if someone who has maxed out his/her SS contributions with the W2 employer has to pay "the other" (employer) half of SS contributions on 1099 side income?"

    I cant tell and at the same time I am not being considered for job of treasury secratary. I expect a person to be clean with his/her tax obligations , if he or she wants to be in charge of treasury of people a.k.a tax dollars. Its as simple as that.

    Part of the reason why Larry Summers is not selected for the job is because of the inarticulate or sexist comments depending ones viewpoint he made about math and science and womens ability in those disciplines ...

    caesar's wife should be above suspicion.. Well All I can wish is hopefully someone qualified gets confirmed (Dont care if it is Geithner)for this job ASAP ..Political fight over this confirmation is not good for country or for Obama administration . On top of everything I hate to handover a victory to Thugs(Republicans). Hope this satisifies every blog visitor
  7. USC's Avatar
    "As far as tax obligations go, can you right off the top of your head say if someone who has maxed out his/her SS contributions with the W2 employer has to pay "the other" (employer) half of SS contributions on 1099 side income?"

    It's not that simple. Even if I were to believe (which I don't) that he was ignorant about his tax liabilities. He learned he was liable during his audit for the 2003 & 2004 tax returns in the year 2006. However, he intentionally concealed his 2001 & 2002 tax liability from the auditor. He did not step forward and pay those taxes till after he was nominated on November 21, 2008. Additionally, he has cheated on his tax return in other ways. See below:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123187503629378119.html

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123194884833281695.html

    Then, of course he is guilty of exploiting an illegal alien. I employ a maid and believe me there is no way for an employer not to know whether or not their housekeeper/maid/nanny is working without authorization.

    With all due respect to his credentials this guy should not be confirmed Obama and the country deserve better!

  8. Nitin's Avatar
    A good chunk of the American economy runs on the back of "less than fully legal" labor. Time to recognize reality and move on. Geithner is an outstanding choice for the post, especially in the current environment.
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