Romney cans illegal immigrant landscapers

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who has come under fire from his rivals for employing illegal aliens, announced Tuesday evening he was ending ties to a landscaping company because it hires such workers.

The company Romney fired is the same one he had employed before for a reported 10 years. It has caused him repeated headaches during his presidential bid as the GOP debate has largely focused on immigration issues.

In a letter to Ricardo Saenz, owner of Community Lawn Service in Chelsea, Mass., Romney said he learned the company was breaking the law after he had given it a second chance.

“Today, I fired a landscaping company that I learned was employing people who are not permitted to work here in the United States,” Romney wrote. “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.”

Romney’s campaign said the former governor “took immediate action to terminate the lawn service company in question” after he learned it was employing illegal aliens.

It was unclear at press time how Romney learned the company was again violating the law. The campaign did not respond to a question asking if he learned of it from an internal check or from external criticism.

Romney’s rivals, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have battled intensely over immigration issues throughout the campaign.

In a recent debate, after Romney again accused Giuliani of running a so-called sanctuary city, Giuliani responded that Romney had run a “sanctuary mansion” during his time as governor of Massachusetts.

According to a report from the Boston Globe in December 2006, Saenz is a legal resident from Colombia.