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Should USICE Act Against Lou Dobbs?

by Alan Lee

The breaking news on Lou Dobbs, the former CNN anchor known for his long-standing virulent rants against illegal immigration, and now for The Nation article "Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite" for having illegal immigrants tend to the grounds of his estate and groom his daughter's champion European Warmblood horses (often costing close to $1 million each) through contractors, brings to light the very common practice in America of individuals and companies trying to insulate themselves against immigration enforcement sanctions by hiring illegal immigrants indirectly through the buffers of third parties. Whether Mr. Dobbs will himself face enforcement action from U.S.I.C.E. ("ICE") for his alleged failings is unclear at this time, but what is becoming clear is that ICE is no longer going just after the contractors and subcontractors, but the individuals and companies which engage them. The agency has exhibited its get-tough policy through its many workplace audits during the past year including 1000 in November 2009. Its website page of February 22, 2007, "Worksite Enforcement" showed two examples of punishment to engaging companies. In the case of Garcia Labor Companies/ABX Air, where the Garcia Labor Companies supplied hundreds of illegal Hispanic workers to work for ABX Air, a national air cargo company from Ohio, not only was Garcia Labor Companies, the contractor, heavily penalized, but an ADX air supervisor pleaded guilty to charges of engaging in a pattern and practice of employing illegal aliens and was sentenced to six months imprisonment. The case of Fischer Homes and contractors featured two subcontractors providing illegal workers to Fischer homes, a leading builder of homes in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. Not only were the subcontractors criminally charged, but the Fischer Homes managers were charged with aiding and abetting and harboring illegal aliens.

Mr. Dobbs was quoted today (October 8, 2010) on "Good Morning America" as saying, "I never, ever used a contractor as a way in which to indirectly hire an illegal immigrant purposefully. Never, never, never." That is certainly a reasonable defense and his action or inaction certainly not as egregious as any of the situations outlined above. Also militating against any actions against him are his prominence, team of lawyers (if you caught his appearance on the TV show, "The Good Wife" this past Tuesday as a prized client!), and outspoken stance over the years against illegal immigration. But other than in the legal realm, Mr. Dobbs is undoubtedly as guilty as many of his other wealthy compatriots of sticking his head in the sand. As long as the buffer existed, and as long as he and his daughter benefited, he saw no reason to upset the status quo. If he was as forceful in his personal life as he publicly appeared on television against illegal immigration, he and his companies could have exacted agreements with the contractors containing specific clauses in which the contractors guaranteed that their workforces all had legal status to work in the States. But at this stage of the breaking story, it does not appear that he took such action.

This article 2010 Alan Lee, Esq.

About The Author

Alan Lee is a 30+ year practitioner of immigration law based in New York City. He was awarded the Sidney A. Levine prize for best legal writing at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1977 and has written extensively on immigration over the past years for the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Pakistan Calling, Muhasha and OCS. He has testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings and was recognized by the Taiwan government in 1985 for his work protecting human rights. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004, and his victory in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in a case of first impression nationwide, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof. Its value as precedent, however, was short-lived as it was specifically targeted by the Administration in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.