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Lou Dobbs’ Illegal Immigrant Problem

Lou Dobbs, the TV and radio commentator famous for his rants against “illegal aliens” and the employers who hire them, employed undocumented workers to care for his estates and horses, The Nation reports today. Isabel Macdonald spoke to five workers who tended to Dobbs’ estates in New Jersey and Florida and took care of horses he kept for his daughter, Hillary. The workers were paid low wages and worked long hours. None of them had proper documentation to work in the U.S.

Let’s juxtapose that information with Dobbs’ statements on illegal immigration, also via The Nation:

It was difficult to nail down whether Dobbs knew the workers were undocumented — he declined to comment — but one worker indicated others close to Dobbs may have known they did not have legal status to work in the U.S.:

When I asked whether the Dobbs family knew that undocumented workers were caring for their horses, Gomez responded by saying that at least in the case of Hillary Dobbs, “I believe she knew.” The stable owner knew “that some people didn’t have papers,” Gomez said, and had even taken precautions to keep the workers away from the immigration agents who often patrol the areas around horse shows. Gomez said it was hard to believe that Dobbs’s daughter, who was in close contact with these undocumented workers almost every weekend, could have been unaware of their status. [...]

I asked Mike Sedlak, the owner of Sedlak Landscaping, the contractor that maintains the grounds on Dobbs’s West Palm Beach property, whether Dobbs has ever inquired about the status of his employees. Sedlak said only, “I don’t feel comfortable talking about it,” and quickly got off the phone.

One small note in defense of Dobbs: The workers were hired through the landscaping company and horse stable — not by Dobbs himself — meaning these companies would likely be legally responsible as their employer. Still, as a vocal proponent of higher wages for workers and harsh penalties for hiring illegal immigrants, it is surprising Dobbs did not check more fully into the status and payment of the workers who maintained his property.

For more on Dobbs’ views on illegal immigration — and his views on my views on the topic — give this interview a listen.

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