Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has hardened his position against illegal immigrants as he readies a White House run, was having his lawn manicured for years by undocumented Guatemalans.Way to make Massachusetts a less attractive place for illegal aliens to work, dude. Well played.
The workers said they made $10 an hour in cash and worked 11-hour days. Romney never inquired about their status, they said.
Romney's office said the Republican governor had no idea the workers trimming his hedges and mowing his grass were in the country illegally.
"Gov. Romney hired a legitimate Massachusetts lawn service company to take care of his yard. He knows the owner as a decent, hardworking person who is a legal resident," Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said.
Romney, who is gearing up to announce a presidential bid, backs legislation to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexican border, and arresting illegal immigrants.
"It's one more thing you can do to make this a less attractive place for illegal aliens to come to work," he said in June, after reports that the state was paying contractors who hired undocumented workers.
I'm fairly sympathetic to illegal immigrants, and I think the hysteria about how they're going to take our jobs and destroy our country is just another example of Republicans demonizing the "Other" so they can posture about how they're the ones defending us from Scary Enemies like Mexicans and Gays and Muslims while the Democrats would just let such monsters live their lives in peace. But if you're building your rep as an anti-immigration crusader, I can't believe you wouldn't be paranoid or xenophobic enough to ask your contractor about all these suspicious-looking brown people on your lawn.
The two best explanations I can think of (which are probably not mutually exclusive):
1) Romney doesn't really give a shit about illegal immigrants (I mean, come on - he's in Massachusetts), and this is all just positioning for a presidential run. Of course, he could have at least gone through the motions of pretending to give a shit.
2) Romney, and probably other Republicans, view illegal immigrants in the same way they view abortion: A terrible, repugnant plague upon our country - but damned useful on the down-low. "Abortions and illegal immigrants for me, but not for thee," in other words.
I'm leaning towards both. I suspect that Romney knew damn well that there was a possibility they were illegals, but the contractor gave him such a good deal that he simply didn't want to know.