Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Burns Hires Illegal Immigrants?

The SeattlePI has a story on how Burns likes to make jokes about his workers who might or might not be illegal aliens. He calls his house painter a "nice little Guatemalan man" and says that he and the employees of a roofing company he hired might be illegal immigrants.

"The other day, the little fella who does our maintenance work around the house, he's from Guatemala, and I said, 'Could I see your green card?'" Burns said at a June meeting recorded by Democrats. "And Hugo says, 'No.' I said, 'Oh gosh.'"


Burns said he was on the phone with his contractor when he saw an interview with an illegal immigrant on television. The immigrant said he was a roofer and was headed north.

"So I told my roofer, you better go out and get your help," Burns said. "Or you won't get my house roofed.

You might recall, Burns voted against the bill that would have granted amnesty to illegal workers that were in the country legally. He either doesn't mind the cheap labor or has a very bad sense of humor.

In a video released by the Tester campaign this week, Burns is seen interrupting his own stump speech at a campaign event to take a cell phone call and then appears to speak to the painter.
"Hugo is a nice little Guatemalan man who is doing some painting for me ... in Virginia," Burns told the audience, to laughter, after hanging up on the call. "No, he's terrific, love him."

Wonder what conservatives have to say about this? Surely they thought the joke was funny too? Not so much.

"A U.S. senator hiring illegal immigrants is not a joke," said Michael Dougherty of The American Cause, a conservative group founded by Pat Buchanan that supports strict immigration controls. "He could easily dispirit his voting base."
"If you have the very people who are responsible for making the laws mocking them, it's a pretty good indication of why we have 12 million people breaking the law," said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for Federation for American Immigration Reform. An estimated 12 million illegal immigrants live in the United States.

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