Lou Dobbs is on the defensive after a scathing report accused the anti-immigrant zealot of knowingly hiring undocumented workers. After a year-long investigation, Isabel Macdonald reported Thursday for The Nation that before being booted off of CNN by a coalition of Latino activists, Dobbs, who introduced himself to one worker as “Luis”, hired workers without papers to tend his mega estate and care for his daughter’s horses. The workers were allegedly forced to work 12 hour days without overtime pay.
According to Macdonald:
But with his relentless diatribes against “illegals” and their employers, Dobbs is casting stones from a house—make that an estate—of glass. Based on a yearlong investigation, including interviews with five immigrants who worked without papers on his properties, The Nation and the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute have found that Dobbs has relied for years on undocumented labor for the upkeep of his multimillion-dollar estates and the horses he keeps for his 22-year-old daughter, Hillary, a champion show jumper.
The upkeep of Dobbs’s multiple properties creates no small demand for labor in two sectors where undocumented immigrants are known to be particularly prevalent. Jay Hickey, president of the American Horse Council, the horse industry’s main lobby group, suggested in 2009 that more than half of the workers in his industry are likely undocumented. Likewise, studies have found that undocumented workers make up an estimated 28 percent of workers in landscaping. In both of these sectors, the use of contractors is commonplace, so it is not surprising that Dobbs has relied on third parties to supply the labor he needs. Vicky Moon, author of A Sunday Horse: Inside the Grand Prix Show-Jumping Circuit, explained that contracting out the care of one’s horses “alleviates the time involved in coordinating the horses’ care, transport, and management but it also removes the responsibility of hiring competent grooms, providing housing and meals, possibly paying Social Security taxes, health insurance and, most important, making extra sure they are legal.”
In an effort to defend himself on “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell”, Dobbs maintained that his company had never knowingly hired undocumented workers, but acknowledged that his contractors could’ve done so:
“What I mean by indirectly is intentionally hiring a contractor who — for the specific purpose of hiring an illegal immigrant…I have never done that. Either directly or indirectly,” he said.
Nonetheless, it’s a damning report, especially since Dobbs has previously argued that employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants be charged with felony crimes.
Watch the second installment of Macdonald’s showdown with Dobbs below: