Unrepentant: Trump Labor Nominee Also Had Issues With Undocumented Workers at His Fast Food Co.

WWPD: Puzder Has Supported Comprehensive Immigration Reform with a Path to Citizenship, But as Labor Secretary, He Would Be Responsible for Helping to Implement Trump’s Draconian Anti-Immigrant Policies


WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to news reports, Trump Labor nominee Andy Puzder admitted Monday that he had employed an undocumented immigrant to clean his home. But research from Allied Progress reveals Puzder’s CKE Restaurants, Inc., also has a history of employing undocumented workers. In addition, Puzder said he thinks businesses like his should be allowed to hire undocumented labor.

It remains an open question as to how Puzder would handle his responsibility as Labor Secretary to help implement President Trump’s draconian anti-immigrant policies given his past vocal support for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Allied Progress released the following statement today from its executive director, Karl Frisch:

“Andy Puzder didn’t just hire an undocumented immigrant to clean his home, research shows that his fast food chains have hired undocumented labor in the past as well. Far from repentant, Puzder has even said that his business should have been allowed to hire such workers.”

“An outspoken supporter of comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship, Puzder now wants to run an agency that could be instrumental in implementing draconian anti-immigrant efforts pushed by President Trump. Will Puzder continue to champion comprehensive reform or fall in line with Trump’s hate-filled rhetoric?” 

“Regardless of Puzder’s view on immigration, his opposition to overtime pay, minimum wage increases, paid family leave, and a host of other workplace protections make him entirely unqualified to serve as Labor Secretary.”

BACKGROUND:

Puzder acknowledged that he hired an undocumented immigrant to clean his home.

  • “Andrew F. Puzder, who as President Trump’s pick to head the Labor Department has come under fire for criticizing worker protections, acknowledged on Monday that he had employed an undocumented immigrant to clean his house . . . ‘My wife and I employed a housekeeper for a few years, during which time I was unaware that she was not legally permitted to work in the U.S.,’ Mr. Puzder said in a statement. ‘When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status.’” [Alan Rappeport, “Andrew Puzder, Trump’s Labor Pick, Admits to Hiring Undocumented Maid,” New York Times, February 7, 2017.]

Puzder acknowledged that CKE Restaurants has used undocumented labor.

  • Puzder, in 2013, acknowledged that CKE Restaurants had in the past used undocumented labor. He said, “E-Verify has actually been very, very useful for us . . . but before E-Verify, you’d announce that the ICE agents are going to be coming through, and about 20 percent of your general managers wouldn’t show up the next day, you know, they’d be gone.” [Andrew Puzder, “Armchair Conversation: The Business Perspective.” Comments presented at the “Essential Workers? Less-Skilled Immigrants and the Changing US Economy” Symposium, hosted by American Enterprise Institute and Immigration Works USA, Washington, DC, June 25, 2013.]

Puzder said, if CKE Restaurants were able to hire undocumented workers ” . . . that would be a big benefit, I think, to us and to everybody else that has to hire workers in that category.”

  • Puzder said, if “‘we were able to hire people who are currently here illegally, if there were a way to change their status so that they are here legally that would be a big benefit, I think, to us and to everybody else that has to hire workers in that category. I think that it’d be a real boost to the economy.’” [Andrew Puzder, “Armchair Conversation: The Business Perspective.” Comments presented at the “Essential Workers? Less-Skilled Immigrants and the Changing US Economy” Symposium, hosted by American Enterprise Institute and Immigration Works USA, Washington, DC, June 25, 2013; and Zaid Jilani, “Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary Pick Wants More Cheap Immigrants in American Jobs,” The Intercept, December 8, 2016.]

Puzder supports “a path to legal status” for undocumented immigrants.

  • He said in reference to the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill, which included a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, “if we had immigration reform, and were able to hire these people that really want to work, we’d have a more diverse, incentivized, and productive workforce. We’d have access not only to the low-skilled workers in our business, but the high-skilled workers that everybody talks about.” Puzder continued, this bill is “the right thing to do. It’s the country that we are. It’s the people that we are, and we need to foster that image across the world and in the United States.” [Andrew Puzder, “Armchair Conversation: The Business Perspective.” Comments presented at the “Essential Workers? Less-Skilled Immigrants and the Changing US Economy” Symposium, hosted by American Enterprise Institute and Immigration Works USA, Washington, DC, June 25, 2013.]
  • In 2015 Andrew Puzder wrote, “With some 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally, every candidate should support a path to legal status–short of citizenship–for illegal immigrants.” [Andy Puzder, “Ending the Republican Drama about Immigration,” Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2015.]

Puzder, in 2013, wrote, the current immigration “system is unfair and unworkable. It’s hurting . . . undocumented workers who are lured to the country by the prospect of employment, then must live in the shadows—and honest business people who just want to operate their businesses consistent with the law.” He supports “a pathway to adjusted status for those here illegally now; and special relief for the children of undocumented immigrants.”

  • Andrew Puzder, in 2013, wrote that the “current system is unfair and unworkable. It’s hurting legal immigrants who are unable to navigate it, undocumented workers who are lured to the country by the prospect of employment, then must live in the shadows — and honest business people who just want to operate their businesses consistent with the law.” He thinks immigration reform should include “a pathway to adjusted status for those here illegally now; and special relief for the children of undocumented immigrants” and should “produce a balanced solution for those who came here unlawfully but for honest reasons.” [Andy Puzder, “How to Renew the American Dream,” Politico, January 24, 2013.]

Puzder believes “that deporting 11 million people is unworkable,” and he hopes “in the end Mr. Trump comes to this same conclusion.” He thinks most undocumented immigrants should not be deported.

  • A column for the Wall Street Journal co-written by Puzder in 2016 stated, “we don’t see eye to eye with Mr. Trump on everything. In our opinion, legal immigrants are an asset to the country. We believe that deporting 11 million people is unworkable, and we hope in the end Mr. Trump comes to this same conclusion. Deportation should be pursued only when an illegal immigrant has committed a felony or become a ‘public charge.’” [Andy Puzder and Stephen Moore, “A Trump Economy Beats Clinton’s,” Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2016.]

“‘Immigrants appreciate what America offers,’ Puzder said. . . ‘They are not taking jobs from Americans, because there are not sufficient Americans applying for jobs.’”

  • “‘Immigrants appreciate what America offers,’ Puzder said during a . . . visit to Washington to lobby for immigration reform. ‘They are not taking jobs from Americans, because there are not sufficient Americans applying for jobs.’” [Pamela Constable, “Low-Skilled Immigrants: Economic Burden or Boon?Washington Post, August 25, 2013.]

Puzder thinks doubling the number of border security agents is “overkill.”

  • Puzder, in 2013, said, “If we’re going to go from 20,000 border security agents to 40,000, you know . . . maybe that’s overkill.” [Andrew Puzder, “Armchair Conversation: The Business Perspective.” Comments presented at the “Essential Workers? Less-Skilled Immigrants and the Changing US Economy” Symposium, hosted by American Enterprise Institute and Immigration Works USA, Washington, DC, June 25, 2013.]

Last month, Allied Progress launched Trump Transparency Project, an initiative aimed at holding the incoming administration accountable for its economic appointments and policies that betray America’s middle class.

To speak with Karl Frisch about the Puzder nomination please contact Jon Reinish at 202-999-0461 or JReinish@SKDKnick.com.

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Allied Progress is a nationwide, progressive advocacy organization that uses hard-hitting research and creative campaigns to hold Wall Street and powerful special interests accountable. Since launching in 2015, the organization has led high-profile campaigns on several issues including reforming the payday lending industry and exposing the those working to cripple the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

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