Pete Wilson's Former Maid Avoids Deportation
SAN DIEGO (AllPolitics, Dec. 5) -- California Gov. Pete Wilson's former maid, Josefina Delgado Klag, said Wilson knew she was in the United States illegally during the three years she worked for his family in the late 1970s. Klag made her statements after avoiding deportation at a hearing Thursday.
"They knew because they asked when I first started working for them," said Klag.
Wilson, who has supported tough immigration laws, denied the claim through spokesman Sean Walsh. "The governor did not know what her legal status was," Walsh said.
Klag worked for Wilson when he was San Diego mayor. Wilson's former wife, Betty Hosie, hired Klag for $25 a day. Klag said she was not the only undocumented worker working for Wilson at that time.
Klag avoided deportation to Mexico when immigration Judge Rico Bartolomei ruled that she did not "willfully mislead" the Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding her marital status. Klag turned herself in earlier this year after a warrant was issued for her arrest by the INS. Klag, 54, was accused of lying on an application for U.S. residency filed in 1979.
The case surrounded a 1976 marriage between Klag and Edward Eberhart, a U.S. citizen, that lasted only eight days. Though there was no evidence of an annulment, Klag said she believed the marriage had been annulled and had signed a document for Eberhart to that effect. Believing the marriage was annulled, Klag married Christian Delgado in 1978.
Bartolomei said Klag, who has only a sixth-grade education and has trouble reading English, may not have understood the questions about her marital status.
It was not a crime to employ illegal immigrants in the 1970s, but employers were required to pay Social Security taxes.
Wilson paid $15,000 in federal taxes and penalties in 1995 after it was discovered he had not paid Social Security taxes for three housekeepers between 1971 and 1990.
The controversy helped end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996.
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