Day Two of the Lou Dobbs Saga continues, with The Nation offering the editorial "Make It Legal" (thenation.com/article/155228/make-it-legal). I'll show below why you can't trust The Nation and how their editorial lies, smears, and promotes bad, anti-American policy.
In the first paragraph they falsely state that Meg Whitman's campaign "has at times been vehemently anti-immigrant" which begs the question which universe they live in. Opposing illegal immigration isn't "anti-immigrant", and moreover Whitman hasn't opposed illegal immigration to a great extent as discussed at the last link. Whitman has tried to ignore immigration, she opposes the new Arizona law and Proposition 187 (see her Spanish-language billboards), and she's bent over backwards to pander to Hispanics. Her two strongest positions are opposing letting illegal aliens into some colleges and taking a "secure the border first, then we'll discuss amnesty" position ("When there are no more illegal immigrants coming across the border then the border is secure. And once we have that then we can talk about what the right thing to do is." here). Neither of those are tough, and the latter contradicts her earlier support for a "path to legalization". No one is going to find Whitman taking a tough stance on illegal immigration, much less being "anti-immigrant" as the Nation claims.
Now Lou Dobbs, the former CNN host who made his name with nightly rants against "illegal aliens" and their "illegal employers," joins Whitman's ranks. It turns out that Dobbs has employed at least five undocumented workers in recent years through his landscaping and horse stable contractors. Like Whitman, who may have received a Social Security no-match letter and knew Diaz was unable to travel outside the country, Dobbs and his champion horse-riding daughter, Hillary, must have been in deep denial. The landscaping and horse grooming trades depend heavily on undocumented workers. One immigrant who tended the gardens at a Dobbs estate said the landscaping contractor who employed him never pushed for a "good Social Security number." Dobbs told his gardener to call him "Luis." Whitman described Diaz as "a friend of our family." Yet there appears to have been a tacit understanding in these friendly relationships: some things would not be discussed.
The above is sleazy innuendo and in a legal sense Dobbs didn't "employ" anyone through anyone else as the Nation states; that appears to be an attempt to mislead people into thinking that Dobbs was the employer when that's not the case. In some cases, those who are contractors are in fact full-time employees and the government can force them to be reclassified as such (see this), but that doesn't apply in this case as at least the landscapers were only on Dobbs' property for short periods and no doubt did work for others. Further, just because someone speaks Spanish doesn't mean they're here illegally as the Nation implies. The last sentence is sleazy mind-reading.
Then, we have an outright lie:
With the investigative report in this issue by Isabel Macdonald, we are not out merely to play a game of gotcha. 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. Instead they were left working extra hours off the clock (Whitman's maid) or earning poverty wages (Dobbs's gardeners). But the more important revelation here is 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.
Whitman's housekeeper was in fact her "worker". However, the supposed illegal aliens from the Nation article are not Dobbs' "workers"; the Nation lies two times in the paragraph above. Further, neither Whitman nor Dobbs are "immigrant-bashers", and as discussed above Whitman is weak on the immigration issue. As for the "rights" of the supposed illegal aliens from the article, there's nothing I can see alleging a violation of actual rights; if there were, the Nation would surely have contacted government authorities. In fact, the Nation is seeking to confer extra-legal rights to foreign citizens who are here illegally.
As for hypocrisy, that's a weak charge that's one step up from an ad hominem, and one question raised by the paragraph above is whether the Nation really cares about "protect[ing] American workers and their wages". If there were no illegal aliens in the U.S., wouldn't those workers the Nation discusses be working for higher wages under better conditions? Why isn't The Nation supporting that, and instead they're enabling even more illegal immigration? The Nation won't support immigration enforcement now; can anyone see them supporting enforcement later, as there are even more illegal aliens in the U.S. lowering U.S. wages and working standards? Large numbers of low-skilled U.S. workers are in competition with illegal aliens, and The Nation is taking the side of illegal aliens.
Then, they mislead about what Dobbs wants:
On any given day, we've all probably eaten fruit harvested by undocumented workers or meat they butchered. These workers also make possible the lifestyles enjoyed by wealthy Americans like Dobbs and Whitman, with their estates and grounds and stables. How these millions of workers could be extracted from their jobs and deported without causing massive disruption not only to their lives but to the entire economy defies the imagination. Yet this is what Dobbs demands with his call for ever tougher enforcement.
One might expect The Nation to oppose the wealthy using cheap, illegal labor rather than American workers working for good wages under good conditions. Instead, they're promoting the opposite, just as strongly as corporate tool Tamar Jacoby. As discussed at the last link, "[currently a] meatpacker makes roughly $10 an hour, which is the same wage paid in 1980", due to an influx of cheap and illegal foreign labor. The Nation isn't opposing that: they're supporting and promoting it.
Further, The Nation is lying about Dobbs' position: he's never supported mass deportations, and in January of this year he admitted that he supports amnesty, guest workers, and chain migration. Hasn't The Nation been paying attention? Dobbs is now more on their side than mine.
One way to solve this that neither The Nation nor the current version of Dobbs would like is attrition, where we ramp-up enforcement and reduce benefits to illegal aliens, causing many to leave. Around a million illegal aliens have in fact left the U.S. due to no doubt to the economic downturn, and that number could be increased with attrition. Over time, large numbers of illegal aliens would leave and their jobs filled by American workers working for better wages under better conditions. Since that would take place over time, there would be little disruption and that would also spur development of, for instance, newer and better crop-picking machinery and the like. And, that would also be better policy for sending countries. Many countries are to a certain extent satellites of the U.S. due to their reliance on remittances (money sent home by foreign citizens in the U.S.) Massive immigration to the U.S. turns parts of Mexico into ghost towns at the same time as it enriches their corrupt elite and also deprives Mexico of energetic citizens who might press the Mexican government for reform.
Where is The Nation in all of this? On the side of corrupt employers and corrupt foreign governments.
Despite its populist veneer, the anti-immigration hysteria fomented by Dobbs and his ilk pits American workers against immigrants for the benefit of the corporate class. The United Farm Workers recently called the bluff of those who accuse immigrants of job-stealing with their Take Our Jobs campaign, in which US workers were invited to join them in their backbreaking toil—and found very few takers (aside from Stephen Colbert).
Dobbs didn't before and certainly doesn't now foment such "hysteria". And, those who are helping the "corporate class" are The Nation themselves: their policies would provide the "corporate class" with a ready supply of cheap and most likely illegal labor. It's The Nation that opposes immigration enforcement and that would - even if millions of current illegal aliens are legalized - allow the "corporate class" to encourage the importation of even more illegal labor. The Nation won't stand against the "corporate class" now, and they won't stand against them later. Instead, as they're doing now, they'll help them while trying to hide behind a veneer of pretending to oppose them.
As for the Take Our Jobs campaign, it's not surprising that The Nation would support it as it's an anti-American, pro-abuse plan that ran down American workers as the same time as it promoted abusive working conditions. The Nation has a great deal of trouble being on the right side of anything.
If immigrants had a straightforward path to legalization, they 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.
1. They're using the living in the shadows canard, as has almost every other corrupt supporter of massive immigration from Barack Obama to George W Bush (and including the aforementioned Tamar Jacoby).
2. Their obsession with Dobbs continues; he appears to have really gotten to them despite the fact that he's now mostly on their same side. And, their last swipe at him is just a sleazy ad hominem: most likely Dobbs could and wouldn't mind paying more for his landscaping and the like. The real issue is the sales job that The Nation is trying to make to the rest of us, promoting as they do above cheap illegal labor picking fruit or processing meat. The Nation is using Dobbs as a scapegoat to promote policies that, once again, would benefit the "corporate class" they claim to oppose.
3. Finally, The Nation is using the immigration wage floor talking point; see the link for a description of what that it and why it's wrong. The Nation would add new competition for millions of low-wage American workers and at the same time spur even more illegal immigration, thereby negatively affecting even more low-wage American workers.
For example, let's say that we follow The Nation's prescription and legalize 10 million illegal aliens. Some segment of them will leave low-wage jobs (such as fruit picking) for higher-wage jobs (such as cashiering). Illegal aliens can only do certain categories of jobs; under The Nation's plan, the newly-legalized could do any job for which they're qualified . That will lower wages for previously higher-wage jobs, driving large numbers of Americans out of work. That will also leave a gap at the very lowest end of the wage scale: fruit pickers and so on. What will happen then? The same thing that's happening now: corrupt businesses will in effect pay off politicians to look the other way on illegal immigration just as they do now. And, The Nation will do then the same thing they do now: provide cover for that by opposing immigration enforcement. The Nation won't support immigration enforcement now; what makes anyone think that The Nation would support enforcement later?
If you think The Nation supports good policies and American workers, think again: they're part of the problem. Don't help them.
And, if anyone disagrees with anything in this post or has any questions, feel free to leave a comment.
 One way around that is the AgJOBS way, which involves a form of indentured servitude: it would keep the newly-legalized on the farm for a few years if they wanted to be able to get on the "path to citizenship". That's the plan that Stephen Colbert supported before Congress, the one that's proposed by "Take Our Jobs". Instead of opposing a form of indentured servitude, The Nation supports it.
Fri, 10/08/2010 - 12:12 · Importance: 6