Two times' the charm.
Last year, when Mitt Romney learned that his lawn care company, Community Lawn Services, used illegal immigrants to tend to his Belmont property, he promised immediate action. That action, apparently, was just a warning.
Today, Romney was forced to fire the company after he learned that, once again, undocumented workers had been allowed to cut grass on his property.
Romney, in a statement today:
"Today, I fired a landscaping company that I learned was employing people who are not permitted to work here in the United States. After this same issue arose last year, I gave the company a second chance with very specific conditions. They were instructed to make sure people working for the company were of legal status. We personally met with the company in order to inform them about the importance of this matter. The owner of the company guaranteed us, in very certain terms, that the company would be in total compliance with the law going forward. The company's failure to comply with the law is disappointing and inexcusable, and I believe it is important I take this action."
Point to Romney: the current system is untenable; employers and consumers can't be held responsible for enforcing immigration laws; Romney is very busy running a campaign and can't possible be bothered to check on such things; should he check the employment status of everyone with a "funny" accent who works on his lawn:?
Point to Giuliani/Romney's rivals: "Sanctuary Mansion" -- again? Why did Romney not fire the company last year? He warned them last year and let them off....he continued to use their services until he found out, again, that they were employing illegal immigrations.
This is a political embarrassment. An unforced error. One that his opponents will use to whip him. Is he really committed to cleansing the republic of the stain of illegal immigration? Or is he just talking tough for the sake of impressing Republican primary voters? Is he really a pro-comprehensive-reform businessman at heart, unable to survive without undocumented labor? And how many Republican primary voters use lawn care companies?
Now, a Thompson or Giuliani can run a contrast ad using this example. It's unfolding in real time.
Romney's letter is after the jump.
December 4, 2007
Mr. Ricardo Saenz
Community Lawn Service
174 Shurtleff St.
Chelsea, MA 02150
Dear Mr. Saenz:
Today I learned that employees of your company, who were assigned to work on my property, are not permitted to work in the United States. Given your company’s disregard for the clear instructions provided on this issue last year, I am forced to terminate my contract with your company, effective immediately. My family will no longer utilize your services and all scheduled visits are cancelled as of today.
I am disappointed that our relationship must end on this note, but we simply cannot tolerate your inability to ensure that your employees are legally permitted to work in the United States. Thank you for your assistance.