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Lou Dobbs Has a Meg Whitman Problem
Those Who Block Fixes to Broken Immigration System Are Benefiting From Its Dysfunction
WASHINGTON - October 7 - The news that Lou Dobbs relied for years on undocumented labor on his sprawling New Jersey estate highlights the rank hypocrisy that characterizes many immigration reform opponents. The Dobbs revelations, coming soon after similar charges levied against California Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman, highlights an uncomfortable truth: many of the same people who block progress toward fixing the broken immigration system are exploiting its dysfunction for their own benefit.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, "Lou Dobbs has a Meg Whitman problem. Not only is it incredibly hypocritical that those calling for greater immigration enforcement and blocking sensible reform are prospering from undocumented labor themselves, but it also reveals the inanity of letting these opponents drive immigration policy."
Dobbs long used his CNN show as a platform to bash immigrants and rally opposition to immigration reform - usually through blatant mistruths, such as spreading the lie that immigrants are causing a resurgence in diseases like leprosy. Dobbs also called for felony charges for "illegal employers who hire illegal aliens." The revelations about Dobbs hiring undocumented workers, uncovered through investigative journalism conducted by The Nation, comes on the heels of similar allegations that have rocked the California gubernatorial contest between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown. Whitman, the Republican nominee, relied on an undocumented housekeeper for nine years, despite trumpeting during her campaign that she would be "tough as nails" on undocumentedimmigrants and their employers.
In an editorial accompanying their investigation into Lou Dobbs, The Nation writes, "Of course Whitman and Dobbs are hypocrites: they have called publicly for tougher enforcement of immigration laws, claiming it is necessary to protect American workers and their wages, while privately refusing fair pay and humane treatment to their own immigrant workers, who were too afraid of getting caught in the enforcement net to stand up for their rights." The editorial then points out that "undocumented workers are so thoroughly woven into the fabric of our economy that even two professional immigrant-bashers found it difficult to avoid relying on their labor."
As the editorial concludes, instead of the dysfunctional status quo, we need "a straightforward path to legalization" so immigrant laborers could "step out of the shadows of the US economy and stand with American workers to demand decent treatment for all. That might make it slightly more expensive for Lou Dobbs to maintain his multimillion-dollar properties-but it's a price he ought to pay." Indeed, the American people strongly and consistently favor a comprehensive solution to immigration reform and, despite the efforts of the Dobbses and Whitmans of the world, understand that enforcement-only policies are neither sensible, humane, nor workable.