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Ex-CNN anchor Lou Dobbs accused of hiring illegal immigrants; he denies it [Updated]

Dobbs Former CNN host Lou Dobbs, notorious for his vehement rants against undocumented workers on his show "Lou Dobbs Tonight" and his radio program "The Lou Dobbs Show," employed at least five illegal immigrants himself, according to a new piece in The Nation. The magazine claims 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."

Published after a yearlong study by the Nation's Investigative Fund, the story reports that workers were hired not by Dobbs but through companies responsible for landscaping and care of the horses. But one undocumented man claims that Dobbs "knew very well that the majority of us didn't have papers" and that it was "never a problem."

While at CNN, Dobbs regularly railed against free trade and illegal immigration, using arguments that some found offensive. He has claimed that some Mexican Americans want to return California to Mexico and once implied that leprosy cases were on the rise because of illegal immigrants. He left the network in November, after Latino groups protested against his remarks, but he's continued to speak out about the issue on the "tea party" circuit.

Ironically, Dobbs has focused much of his anger at the individuals who hire "illegals." In March, he told Univision that "the illegal employer is the central issue in this entire mess!" During his time at CNN, he called private firms that oppose verification requirements for workers "ridiculous," and also proposed that "illegal employers who hire illegal aliens" should face felony charges.

For his part, Dobbs is furious about the new accusations against him.  The Associated Press  quotes him as saying that The Nation article is "a political assault" based on what he called "the lie" that he has hired illegal immigrants, and he asserts: "I have never, do not now, and never will."

Today Dobbs tweeted, "Nation tries to do hit piece on me, attacks my daughter, and nat'l liberal media asks no question of left wing house organ."

"Few news organizations even feel [responsible] to point out to their audiences that the Nation is a left wing [activist], advocacy [publication]," he wrote in another tweet.

Now he's invited The Nation to discuss the piece with him on the radio. "Tune into the Lou Dobbs show, we'll be setting the record straight," he promised

[Updated at 12:27 p.m.: MSNBC has announced that Dobbs will appear on MSNBC's "The Last Word" tonight to discuss the allegations. The Nation's Isabel MacDonald, who wrote the story, will appear in a separate interview.]

-- Melissa Maerz

Photo: Lou Dobbs speaks about immigration at the National Press Club in Washington in 2007. Credit: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty

Comments () | Archives (21)

So let me see if I've got this straight. Someone who is here illegally and most likely committing several felonies in order to be employed, says that he is sure Lou Dobbs knew very well that there were illegal aliens working for him? He KNOWS this HOW? Divine inspiration? His long and in depth conversations with Lou Dobbs? Someone who works on his property, either as a housekeeper or a landscaper, is someone that Lou Dobbs would take the time to get to know on a personal level? These people were hired by outside contractors. They are the ones responsible for the employment status of their workers, not the clients. I'm sick to death of everybody in the media jumping to the conclusion that every homeowner who contracts with employment agencies knows everything about the workers that are sent to them. The whole point of going through an agency is to have someone else take care of all the logistics involved.

So Lou Dobbs is a liar and a hypocrite? Wow! this is news to me...

Americans with even the slightest amount of common sense can see right through the lies created by these type of special interest groups that are apparently incapable of stating facts or have anything to do with the truth. far too many now know what these people are all about and the propaganda they preach.

Sorry the undocumented worker has absolutely no credibility. Of course he is going to say Dobbs knew after all the things Dobbs have said about the scumbag illegals.

Not newsworthy, period.

Dear Matthew,
You are quite correct. We all use outside contractors for our "help" around our "estates" so we can say we haven't employed undocumented workers. On the other hand, did we ask for a written gurantee from the said contractors that they verified that all their workers were legally in the United States? We did not. Why not? Because we didn't want to hear the answer?
Do we ask in restaurants whether the kitchen help is documented? We do not. Do we ask the supermarket if the vegetables or fruit was picked by undocumented workers? We do not.
The hypocrisy isn't employing undocumented workers - the hypocrisy is pretending our economy doesn't need them to do the farming and service jobs that Americans won't!
I'm betting you're against a minimum wage too!

Matthew King said: " The whole point of going through an agency is to have someone else take care of all the logistics involved."

Criminals and others who want to avoid responsibility for their actions love to find others to do the things they don't want to be caught doing themselves; better yet if they can profess ignorance of the whole process. Many if not most agencies and companies specializing in labor-intensive jobs use undocumented workers. Anyone who uses them should be aware of that, and if they want to use only citizens or documented workers they need to say so before they hire.

I have had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Dobbs's very talented, athletic daughter compete on horseback at the Hampton Classic, and also to note all the Spanish-speaking men in the employ of, if not Mr. Dobbs, some one or many of his friends and colleagues. I do not believe for a minute that any "real" American workers would do the back-breaking, dirty, sometimes dangerous, low-skilled work it takes to maintain this type of lifestyle. If so, I wish they would visit us in Los Angeles, because I have a rocky garden that needs tilling (and my skills are limited).

Nice how the headline is "Lou Dobbs accused of hiring illegal aliens" yet right there in the second paragraph it says plain as day "workers were hired not by Dobbs but through companies responsible for landscaping and care of the horses."

I'm not saying that Lou should have skipped doing his homework on the labor that was hired to work for him given his public stance on illegal immigration, however why would this headline run when factual statements in the article are contrary to it. Logically that is like running the headline "The sky is green" then in a subsequent paragraph stating "scientists agree the sky is blue".

It is interesting that anybody that objects to ILLEGAL immigration gets targeted by the media as a bigot. Media bias? You bet.

When is the media going to clamor for the arrest of Meg Whitman's housekeeper due to the fact that she committed perjury in signing Form I-9 (the form states that the signer is legally eligible to work)? That story has not been covered.

For the record, you post this piece on Dobbs as if his claims about Aztlan and the introduction of leprosy are CRAZY notions when infact Dobbs is factually correct about both statements.

You paint Dobbs as a right wing nut when nobody in the national media was more consistantly critical of the Bush administration on their mismangement of the border, the economy and the war on terror.

This reminds me of a friend and his mother here in Arizona! H is mother is a republican who supports sb1070! Our states own anti illegal bill! My friend recently had his whole yard remodeled ! He used the tax rebate of 8000 that obama gave to stimulate 1st time buyers to buy now and fill these empty homes! His mother recommended the same crew she used to do her backyard.! They did a great job of laying brick and the total design was flawless! My friend threw a BBQ to show it off! We talked about the work and the workers. He informed me that they were mostly all illegals! i laughed because i know she used them and recommended them ! She still sits back and blames our problems on illegals!

I just love you bunch of hypocrits we call journalists!!! Do due diligence on your part. Check out the story before you print lies.



I like the way people take issue with the facts the The Nation article as if they had read it.

An illegal immigrant, or undocumented worker, is not a credible witness. Score one for Dobbs.

Since the reporter has caved and admitted that Dobbs and his companies did not hire undocumented workers, how about revising the headline on this article to read: The Nation's Reporter Falsely Accuses Lou Dobbs of Hiring Undocumented Workers. The media have put a stunningly biased spin on this story ever since it surfaced. The reporter is who should be taken to task.

The feds say over 8 million illegal alien's provided their employers with stolen SSNs and claim to be citizens. Most of these illegal's work in manufacturing, construction or service industries.

If often takes years for the victims of identity theft to realize they have been ruined by these criminals.

We have 15 million unemployed citizens looking for jobs with nearly all of them willing to work in manufacturing, construction or service industries.

Under direction from president Obama, ICE no longer deports any illegal aliens unless they are violent criminals.

I am not a fan of Lou Dobbs (or any of the ranting lunatics), however, I will say that while living in SoCal, I personally heard militant immigrants chant, opine and orate that California belongs to Mexico, and that Mexicans would take it back. Of course, the militants alienated a lot of people with that rhetoric, and most have dropped it in recent years. But, Dobbs is right when he said that was -- at least at one time -- part of the la raza-rousing agenda.

Yankee go home . . .

The accusation is spot on and holds alot of merit. How can Dobbs not know that an illegal is working on his own property? He obviously didn't do his own due dilligence to see if he was supporting illegal aliens. It's always someone else's job, especially when you are the benefcactor of cheap labor. Whenever I stay in a hotel, go to a restaurant, get some work done on my house, etc. I assume that illegal immigrant labor is involved. That's why the cost of goods and services is so cheap. To not think so is having your head buried in the sand. I do understand the plight of the lower wage earners and feel they have been wronged by our immigration policy (Im all for closing the border) but I cannot stand the hypocrisy among seemingly patriotic nationalists like Dobbs.

i use to be a fan of Lou dobbs until he became fanatical toward President Obama for not letting him interview him but this thing with hiring illegals is totally ridiculous. When are you going to stopthis Hollywood entertainment so called news paper stop trying to discredit people constantly. This reporter, Mcdonald should be on TMZ!!! She is not a news reporter but a entertainer!!

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