Does Lou Dobbs Live in a Glass Stable Full of Illegal Immigrants?

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You got me, Nation. Photo: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

A yearlong investigation by The Nation tracked down and talked to five illegal immigrants who worked for Lou Dobbs without papers on both his multi-million-dollar estates and the horses he keeps for his daughter Hillary, a 22-year-old champion show jumper. Dobbs was one of the most divisive anchors on CNN before he left in November after groups like Media Matters and Latino organizations launched a "Dump Dobbs" campaign, in part for his rhetoric and position on illegal immigrants. Dobbs and his family run a horse farm on their 300-acre estate in Sussex, New Jersey. His daughter's five European Warmbloods (not a joke), a breed of horse that typically costs close to $1 million, are registered in competitions to the Dobbs Group, a company where her father is president. The Nation's investigation shows that Dobbs used illegal immigrants to help transport the horses from the family's summer stables in Vermont to the winter stables in Florida and to care for horses during shows, a round-the-clock job, around the country.

In one case, a worker made slightly above minimum wage, but was not paid overtime
except for a $100 weekly tip from the daughter during shows. In another case, a worker said he crossed the Yuma Desert on foot, eluding the border patrol, because a friend of his worked as a groom on some of Dobbs's horses and sent word that he could be hired at Dobbs's stable in Vermont. Not all of the illegal aliens working for Dobbs had guest-worker visas. Dobbs has called those type of visas "indentured servitude."

On his show, Dobbs held a particular contempt for those who hire illegal workers and are "so shamelessly exploiting the illegal alien and so shamelessly flouting U.S. law." After getting out of his CNN contract, Dobbs hinted he might be interested in running for office. Dobbs has a speech scheduled at the Virginia Tea Party Convention this weekend, his second major tea-party address this year.

The article ends with:


Commenting on this scapegoating of undocumented workers, Hinojosa-Ojeda [a UCLA professor] remarked, "The irony is that the biggest users of services of the undocumented are affluent white people." In the case of Lou Dobbs, who made his name and his fortune lambasting "illegals" and their employers, the irony is breathtaking.

See, "breathtaking" is not the word we would have used. The irony in this case is depressing, appalling, maddening, but also, to some extent, expected. The more a pastor or right-wing candidate denounces the homosexual agenda, the faster we set our countdown clock to finding them Ted Haggard–style with their pants down, face-first in a pile of crystal meth and male prostitutes.

The hypocrisy in Dobbs's case is more significant considering the platform he had in which to spout his views and the fact that he might be running for office under the tea-party banner. But the breathless tone of the article, which touts the fact that it was a yearlong investigation that used the resources of the Investigative Fund at The Nation, is a little puzzling when it seems like allegations that candidates hire illegal immigrants are a perennial part of election season.

Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite [Nation]