Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder acknowledged Tuesday that he had employed a housekeeper who was in the USA illegally, putting him again at odds with President Donald Trump's push to keep jobs in American hands.
Several media reports quoted a statement from Pudzer late on Monday as saying he took action as soon as he learned that his housekeeper, whom he and his wife had employed for a few years, was not legally permitted to work in the United States.
Puzder said when he learned the woman was in the country without permission and not legally able to work in the USA, he ended her employment.
Andrew Puzder, 66, the CEO of CKE Restaurants -which owns fast-food joints Carl's Jr. and Hardee's - once employed a woman who was in the country illegally, according to a disclosure he made the White House and the lawmakers vetting him, Huffington Post reported Monday. A spokesman for Puzder told the New York Times that he is still "all in" to become the labor secretary.
After reporting the employee, Puzder said he and his wife paid back all the necessary taxes to the IRS and California.
"What we have heard is story after story about how he spent his career squeezing workers for profit, leaving many with lost wages, no financial security, and no retirement", said Democratic Sen.
"Based upon what I've learned, since Mr. Puzder reported his mistake and voluntarily corrected it, I do not believe that this should disqualify him from being a cabinet secretary", Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is reviewing his nomination, said in a statement. Trump's pick for commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, disclosed during his confirmation hearing last month that he fired an undocumented houseworker who lied about her immigration status after she failed to provide the proper paperwork.
His hearing has been delayed four times over lack of paperwork - and much of it is still missing. Bill Clinton's first pick for attorney general, Zoe Baird, was forced out after she informed the president that she had employed undocumented immigrants and had not paid taxes on their salaries. Alexander's committee is waiting until required ethics and financial documentation is submitted from the Office of Government Ethics. Representative Mick Mulvaney, White House budget director nominee and a Republican from SC, said he employed an undocumented nanny on whom he didn't pay taxes.