The fruitcake factor: Collin Street Bakery’s workers become Texas House campaign issue

Jose Manuel Santoyo, an SMU student, talks about unauthorized workers at the Collin Street Bakery and the campaign battle between bakery vice president Thomas McNutt and incumbent Byron Cook.

Austin Bureau

AUSTIN — A candidate running to the right of a powerful House member from Corsicana says he wants to repeal policies that create incentives for illegal immigration. But his company — the world-renowned fruitcake maker Collin Street Bakery — has a history of employing unauthorized workers.

Thomas McNutt, a 25-year-old recent graduate of Texas A&M University, serves as vice president of the bakery. After seeing a Facebook post in which McNutt said he wanted to “prevent our community from being turned into a safe harbor for criminal illegal aliens,” former bakery employees who are in the country illegally spoke out, calling McNutt a “hypocrite.”

Jose Manuel Santoyo, an SMU student and former Corsicana resident, worked at the Collin Street Bakery during the 2012 holiday season. At the time, he was unauthorized to work in the U.S. because he’s a Mexican citizen who entered the country illegally with his family when he was 8 years old.

“It’s no big news in Corsicana,” Santoyo, now 23, said of the bakery hiring unauthorized workers. “They gave opportunities to everyone in the community, so for him to come out and speak publicly against some of his own employees really is shameful.”

McNutt, who is seeking to unseat House State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook in the March 1 Republican primary, said he was not aware the company had ever employed unauthorized workers.

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