The Lou Dobbs Dilemma

Recently The Nation took Lou Dobbs to task and labeled him a hypocrite when they uncover that Mr. Dobbs had illegal aliens working on the grounds of his Florida estate and caring for his daughter’s show jumping horses.

It only becomes clear after reading several paragraphs of the article that Mr. Dobbs is not accused of hiring foreign nationals working illegally in the US directly, but that illegal aliens were working for contractors that Mr. Dobbs hired to do his landscaping and to care for his horses.

This leads to the question of what responsibility does Mr. Dobbs have, or do any of us have, for illegal immigration when purchasing goods and services.  The Nation seems to feel that if you take issue with the failure of the federal government to enforce our immigration laws then you have a heightened responsibility to insure that contractors that you hire are not using illegal labor.  Many amnesty proponents go further to suggest that if you purchase goods or services provided by illegal aliens you are in fact partly responsible for illegal immigration.  And that this use of illegal labor supports their claim that illegal labor is so integral and important to our labor market, that legalization of millions of foreign nationals working illegally in the United States is the only practical solution.

As a practical matter how far can one go to insure that you are not economically supporting illegal immigration?   No one wants to be a party to racially profiling?

If I go into my local Mexican restaurant and all of the waiters there are well above the average age of waiters and waitresses of my community, all appeared to be Hispanic and all of them have only the most basic command of the English language, I may be tempted to apply the Duck analysis.  If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it probably is a duck.  But in the area of basic civil rights, probably isn’t good enough.  It seems I’m left with only one choice, to give the employer, in this case my local Mexican restaurant, the benefit of the doubt and assume that all of the employees of the restaurant are legal to work in the US.  To do otherwise would invite accusations of racial profiling.

If illegal labor is imbedded in the goods and services that I buy, how can I hope to identify and boycott those goods and services?  How would I track back the produce that I purchase in Findlay, Ohio and ensure that it was not harvested or processed by illegal laborers?

As a matter of law, employers must verify the legal status of all workers they hire.  If the employees and federal government fail to ensure that, in fact only legal workers are being hired, on what basis would Mr. Dobbs have to call in to question the hiring decisions of those companies?

The Nation and the pro amnesty proponents are holding Mr. Dobbs and all of us to an unfair standard.  Unless there is some way for companies and products that have utilized illegal labor to be clearly identified, we can’t be held accountable for supporting the economics of illegal immigration.

See the full The Nation article, Lou Dobbs, American hyocrite:

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