Chavez, Facing Allegations of Housing Illegal Alien, Withdraws

Two days after the Bush transition team confirmed that their nominee for Secretary of Labor had permitted a woman who was an illegal alien to live in her home, and gave her money, Linda Chavez withdrew her from consideration. News organizations reported that the withdrawal was arranged by Bush advisers after they concluded questions about Chavez's possible violations of immigration laws would not be resolved quickly.

Earlier the Bush team tried to characterize Ms. Chavez actions as charitable, pointing out that the woman had no money or English language skills. Others had characterized it as harboring an illegal alien employee to whom she did not pay even the minimum wage.

A Bush spokesman denied that the woman was an employee. Bush spokesmen have also stated that Ms. Chavez did not know of the woman's illegal status, although the woman herself told news organizations that she had informed Ms. Chavez herself. Ironically, during the time the Guatemalan woman was living in the Chavez home, Zoe Baird, a Clinton nominee for Attorney General was forced to withdraw from consideration because she failed to pay Social Security taxes for an alien domestic employee.

As a journalist Ms. Chavez called plaintiffs in sexual harassment lawsuits "crybabies," and compared supporters of the minimum wage to Marxists. She has also held contradictory positions concerning the role of labor unions, having once worked as a lobbyist for the American Federation of Teachers, while more recently questioning whether teachers unions are good for schools. She has also condemned labor strikes, and the notion of doctors forming unions.

Chavez's withdrawal avoids a direct confrontation with labor and civil rights groups, whose
resolve to oppose her confirmation had stiffened as the recent allegations surfaced. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has called her nomination "an insult to American working men and women." In interview with the New York Times he said, "It is very difficult to think of working with someone who is opposed to some of our basic labor laws, yet says she's going to enforce those laws. She's just not the right person to be secretary of labor."

And now she will not be....


"Bush labor nominee housed illegal alien" Netscape News 7 Jan. 2001.

Greenhouse, Steven. "Union Leaders Plan Fight Against Bush's Labor Selection"The New York Times7 Jan. 2001:17.