Trump labor secretary pick Andrew Puzder admits to employing undocumented immigrant

WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's choice to lead the Labor Department has admitted to employing an undocumented immigrant as a house cleaner, a revelation that has derailed Cabinet nominees in previous administrations.

Andrew Puzder, chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants Inc, is one of several Trump nominees who faced strong opposition from Senate Democrats and progressive groups. He has criticized an overtime rule championed by the Obama administration and opposed raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

In a statement late on Monday, Puzder said he and his wife had employed a housekeeper for a few years without being aware that she was not legally permitted to work in the United States.

RELATED: Cabinet nominee withdrawals through the years

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Cabinet nominee withdrawals through the years
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Cabinet nominee withdrawals through the years

Judd Gregg, nominated by President Obama

Nominated by President Obama in 2009, Gregg withdrew his name for consideration over disagreement in economic ideology with the president.

(Photo via REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Zoe Baird, nominated by President Clinton

Nominated by President Clinton, Baird withdrew her name from consideration when the “Nannygate” scandal erupted over her hiring undocumented workers.

(Photo by Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Linda Chavez, nominated by President George W. Bush

Nominated by President George W. Bush, Chavez withdrew from consideration in 2001 when allegations were published over her employing an undocumented immigrant more than 10 years prior.

(Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bill Richardson, nominated by President Obama

President Obama chose former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson as his first secretary of commerce pick in 2008. He then withdrew his name, though, because of a federal grand jury investigation into allegations of pay-to-play activities.

(Photo credit JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Tom Daschle, nominated by President Obama

The former Senate majority leader was appointed by President Obama to serve as secretary of Health and Human Services, but Daschle withdrew when reports of his over $140,000 in unpaid taxes surfaced.

(Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bernard Kerik, nominated by President George W. Bush

Kerik was the 43rd president's 2004 pick for secretary of homeland security. Kerik withdrew his nomination after acknowledging that he unknowingly hired an undocumented worker as a nanny.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Kimba Wood, nominated by President Clinton

Wood was President Clinton's second choice for Attorney General. She also hired an undocumented worker, though, and later withdrew her consideration.

(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Bobby Ray Inman, nominated by President Clinton

Inman was selected as Clinton's pick for secretary of defense in 1993. He withdrew his nomination when he accused a New York Times columnist of recruiting Senator Bob Dole to attack him -- something Dole denied.

(Photo by Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images)

Anthony Lake, nominated by President Clinton

President Clinton nominated Anthony Lake to become Director of Central Intelligence in 1996. He withdrew in March of 1997 after contentious questioning by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

(Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity)
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"When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status," he said in the statement. He said he paid back taxes for employing the maid to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and to California. The statement was first reported by Huffington Post.

The disclosure came as Senate Democrats held an all-night session in a final attempt to block the nomination of Betsy DeVos, the millionaire school-choice champion whom Trump nominated to be education secretary.

Last week, an aide for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions said the panel would not "officially" schedule a hearing on Puzder until it receives his paperwork from the Office of Government Ethics.

SEE ALSO: Experts warn of potential 'constitutional crisis' in the US

Some political strategists said that could signal trouble for the fast-food executive.

Wilbur Ross, Trump's pick for commerce secretary, said during his confirmation hearing last month that he recently fired a household employee who could not provide proof of legal status.

A Senate panel approved his nomination. However, previous presidential appointees have run into problems over immigrant labor.

Linda Chavez, nominated for labor secretary in 2001 by Republican president George W. Bush, allowed a Guatemalan woman who was in the United States illegally to live in her home and gave her spending money.

SEE ALSO: Ignored part of Trump's executive order on immigration calls for building detention centers near Mexico border

Zoe Baird, Democratic president Bill Clinton's nominee for attorney general in 1993, withdrew from consideration after she admitted hiring two illegal immigrants as a driver and a nanny and not paying their Social Security taxes.

Another Bush nominee, former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, withdrew his name from consideration for homeland security secretary in 2004 after he disclosed that questions had been raised about the legal status of a former housekeeper and nanny.

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