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Bloggings: December 27, 2007

by Greg Siskind

Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Greg Siskind's blog.

December 23, 2007


Some of you brought this case up in the comments and it is worth raising the profile of the discussion. The matter involves a tourist from Iceland who was barred from entering the US due to an overstay of a tourist visa ten years earlier. But the tourist,  Erla Ósk Arnardóttir Lilliendahl, was not merely politely declined entry and required to board a plane back home. She was shackled, jailed for 24 hours in a prison cell, barred from making phone calls, denied food and water, and, according to Ms. Lilliendahl, treated in a humiliating manner. What should be shocking about this case is not that it happened, but that it happens all the time and our media and lawmakers ignore the subject.

The good news is that Iceland's leaders did not let the matter go and demanded an apology and an action plan from the US. And they have gotten both.  Stewart Baker, the Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security has written a letter to Iceland Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir apologizing for the treatment and also stating that the incident gives DHS a reason to review work procedures relating to how foreign tourists are being treated in the US. Now let's see whether this is just talk or action will follow.


Bourgeois 95 year old French sculptor Louise Bourgeios emigrated to the US in 1938 and is one of the most honored living American sculptors. Ms. Bourgeios won the 1989 American Academy of Arts and Letters award for sculptors, a prize awarded only once every six years. Ms. Bourgeios is best known for her sculptures of spiders and she produces work in a variety of mediums such as rubber, wood, stone, metal, fabric.

December 22, 2007

2007 marked the 70th anniversary of the publication of British-born Professor Ronald Coase's landmark paper "The Nature of the Firm" which established the field of transaction cost economics. 54 years later Coase would win the Nobel Prize in Economics  "for his discovery and clarification of the significance of transaction costs and property rights for the institutional structure and functioning of the economy."

I know Professor Coase more for his 1961 paper "The Problem of Social Cost" which set out was is now known as the Coase Theorem. The paper set out a new field of law and economics and when Professor Coase joined the University of Chicago Law School faculty three years later, he established the school as the leading institution in the world for the economic analysis of law.

I had the privilege of attending law school at the University of Chicago and Professor Coase's scholarship has had an ongoing influence in the way I look at law including immigration law. At 97, by the way, Ronald Coase is still going strong and continuing his research. I hope folks are one day able to say the same about me.

December 21, 2007

Salonga In 1989, when I was a 22 year old law student, I was in London talking to law firms about possibly working in that city. I happened to attend a show in previews in the West End by the name of Miss Saigon which was the follow up production from the creative team that created the musical Les Miserables. Miss Saigon was a pop update of the opera Madame Butterfly so I figured the show would have a good plot. And it did. But the most memorable part of the evening was the singing of the 18 year old Filipina star of the show, Lea Salonga.

Miss Salonga went on to star in the show on Broadway and then on to several other successful shows on the New York stage. She still maintains a strong connection to the Philippines and plays concerts there regularly. She is that country's pride and joy and Philippines President Gloria Arroyo made a point of catching Ms. Salonga in New York recently where she was starring in Les Miserable.

December 20, 2007

If you read my post on the Democracy Now! interview with Lou Dobbs, you saw some tough questions for Mr. Dobbs on some questionable guests he's had on his show. But we know Lou Dobbs is a wacko so it's not really a surprise that he would have guests tied to hate groups on that show.

But we expect the mainstream media to be more responsible. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I a friend of mine sent me a link to this article on that particular subject from Henry Fernandez of the Center for American Progress.


The Anti-Defamation League, which, along with the Southern Poverty Law Center, is one of the major organizations in this country monitoring hate groups and bigotry, has taken the rare step of issuing a warning statement to candidates in a presidential campaign regarding anti-immigrant rhetoric. The ADL was careful not to single out any particular candidate, but you don't have to really work too hard to figure out who they had in mind. Here is the press statement:

ADL Urges Candidates To Keep Debate On Immigration Policy "Respectful"

New York, NY, December 17, 2007 ? The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), increasingly troubled by the deeply polarizing rhetoric of the immigration debate and the routine demonizing of illegal immigrants, today called on all of the major party presidential candidates to "set an example of how immigrant policy can be debated respectfully" and to "forcefully speak out against intolerant and dehumanizing rhetoric."

In a letter to the major party presidential candidates, ADL urged each to refrain from hateful rhetoric that demonizes minorities, particularly Hispanics, when discussing immigration on the campaign trail and in the debates.

"While there are many legitimate and sincere perspectives in the national conversation about illegal immigration and immigration in general, we are deeply troubled by some of the rhetoric accompanying this debate," said Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

"In our view, demonizing illegal immigrants has the effect of demonizing many minorities, particularly Hispanics, regardless of their citizenship status.  It is contrary to the high ideals upon which our nation ? a nation of immigrants ? was founded."

The League shared with the candidates a summary of its recent report, Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream, which documents how anti-immigrant propaganda, once the domain of hate groups, is routinely used by anti-immigrant advocacy organizations and some media figures to generate fear and hatred of immigrants.

"In the coming months, we hope the candidates will set an example of how immigration policy can be debated respectfully," said Mr. Lewy and Mr. Foxman. "We believe the candidates should forcefully speak out against intolerant and dehumanizing rhetoric at every opportunity."


I happened to be watching the PBS television show Wired Science this evening (a production of Wired Magazine) and saw a really interesting interview with Luis Von Ahn, a young professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Von Ahn is a Guatemalan immigrant who has been doing some pretty amazing things.

You probably already know what he's done with CAPTCHA. In fact, if you post a comment on this blog, you'll see CAPTCHA in action. It's that little box of funny looking letters you have to copy and this is what's keeping auto-generated spam from many places on the web.

The folks at the Google Blog had some nice things to say about Dr. Von Ahn that tell a little about what he's up to now:

Today our warmest congratulations go out to a notable young computer scientist, Dr. Luis von Ahn of Carnegie Mellon University. Based on his work in cryptography, AI, and natural intelligence, Luis has just been recognized as a Fellow by the MacArthur Foundation, which has granted him a "genius" award.

A major thread of his research is about human computation that can't currently be emulated by computers. (Together with colleagues he developed the CAPTCHA system, which has of course found widespread commercial application in preventing automated-generated spam.) He also works in the area of cryptography known as steganography. Unlike standard encrypted communications, a steganographic message disguises the fact that it contains a secret; one example is a text message subtly embedded in the bits that encode a digital photograph. He's also developing systems for characterizing visual images in ways that can vastly improve their searchability, and which help to build a rich database for exploring human visual cognition. (We've developed the Google Image Labeler based on his groundbreaking work in this area.)

Around here, we like to quote Isaac Newton's phrase about "standing on the shoulders of giants." Clearly, Luis is one of these.

This is from a few days ago, but I only recently just saw this extremely revealing interview with Mr. Dobbs. What happens when Lou Dobbs is interviewed by people who actually research the accuracy of what he says? Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales, hosts of Democracy Now!, the Pacifica Network syndicated radio show, sat down with Mr. Dobbs. Here are some highlights (please excuse the length of this post, but this is really interesting and I have a feeling Dobbs would have skipped this interview if he knew what was going to happen):

AMY GOODMAN: And then let’s talk about it.

    LOU DOBBS: Let’s say the number is eleven million, although some studies put the number as high as twenty million illegal aliens in this country. That not only amounts to a shift of six to ten congressional seats among the states based on the population of illegal immigration. The fact is, those illegal aliens are costing our economy $200 billion in depressed wages for working Americans. It is costing $50 billion a year in social and medical costs. And it’s costing us, no one knows precisely how much, to incarcerate what is about a third of our prison population who are illegal aliens.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Lou, you said a third of the prison population are illegal aliens.


AMY GOODMAN: The fact is, it’s something like 6% of prisoners in this country are non-citizens, not even illegal, just non-citizens.


AMY GOODMAN: And then a percentage of that would not be documented.

LOU DOBBS: Well, it’s actually—I think it’s 26% in federal prison.

AMY GOODMAN: But you said of all prisoners.

LOU DOBBS: I said about—yes, but I—and I misspoke, without question. I was referring to federal prisoners.

AMY GOODMAN: But you didn’t say that, and so it leaves people with the impression—

LOU DOBBS: Well, I didn’t, but then I just explained it to you.

AMY GOODMAN: But you have a very large audience on CNN.

LOU DOBBS: I have a very large audience and a very bright audience.

AMY GOODMAN: And you told them that a third of the population of this country are illegal immigrants. 6% , which is under the population of immigrants—

LOU DOBBS: 6% , right.

AMY GOODMAN: —in this country, of prisoners—

LOU DOBBS: In state prisons.

AMY GOODMAN: —are immigrants.

LOU DOBBS: In state prisons. In state prisons.

AMY GOODMAN: No, 6% overall are immigrants. You said 30% are illegal.

LOU DOBBS: Well, I think we’ve established—we could sit here and say this all day, Amy. The fact is, the number is 26% in federal prisons. That’s what I was referring to. I did not—I misspoke when I said “prisons.” I was referring to the federal prisons, because that’s the federal crime: immigration. And that—

AMY GOODMAN: Have you made a correction on your show to say that 30% of—?

LOU DOBBS: I’m sure we have. We’ve reported—absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: We didn’t see it.


The legal immigrant population is pretty well documented. It’s about twenty-three million. And then you add maybe another eleven to twelve million of the undocumented population, and you get thirty-five million. The point is—my point is this: if 12% of the non-citizen population of the United States—non-citizens comprise 12% of the population. They comprise 6% of the prison population. That suggests to me that crime rates are far lower among non-citizen immigrants—legal and illegal—than they are among the general population of the United States.

LOU DOBBS: Can I ask you a question?

JUAN GONZALEZ: You have raised the issue of crime—you’ve raised the issue of crime in relationship to immigrants.

LOU DOBBS: Well, silly me, silly me.


AMY GOODMAN: It was called “Truth, Fiction and Lou Dobbs.” Columnist David Leonhardt wrote, “Mr. Dobbs has a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.” Leonhardt highlighted this profile about you that aired on CBS’s 60 Minutes.

    LESLEY STAHL: One of the issues he tackles relentlessly is illegal immigration. And on that, his critics say his advocacy can get in the way of the facts.

    LOU DOBBS: Tuberculosis, leprosy, malaria?

    LESLEY STAHL: Following a report on illegals carrying diseases into the US, one of the correspondents on his show, Christine Romans, told Dobbs that there had been 7,000 cases of leprosy in the US in the past three years.

    CHRISTINE ROMANS: Leprosy, in this country

    LOU DOBBS: Incredible.

    LESLEY STAHL: We checked that and found a report issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services saying 7,000 is the number of leprosy cases over the last thirty years, not the past three, and nobody knows how many of those cases involve illegal immigrants.

    [interviewing Dobbs] Now, went to try and check that number, 7,000—we can’t. Just so you know—

    LOU DOBBS: I can tell you this: if we reported it, it’s a fact.

    LESLEY STAHL: You can’t tell me that. You did report it—

    LOU DOBBS: No, I just did.

    LESLEY STAHL: How can you guarantee that to me?

    LOU DOBBS: Because I’m the managing editor, and that’s the way we do business. We don’t make up numbers, Lesley, do we?

AMY GOODMAN: A day after the 60 Minutes report aired, Lou Dobbs discussed the issue on his program with his reporter, the CNN reporter Christine Romans.

    LOU DOBBS: Then there was a question about some of your comments, Christine, following one of your reports. I told Lesley Stahl we don’t make up numbers, and I will tell everybody here again tonight, I stand 100% behind what you said.

    CHRISTINE ROMANS: That’s right, Lou. We don’t make up numbers here. This is what we reported. We reported: “It’s interesting, because the woman in our piece told us that there were about 900 cases of leprosy for forty years. There have been 7,000 in the past three years. Leprosy, in this country.” I was quoting Dr. Madeleine Cosman, a respected medical lawyer and medical historian. Writing in The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, she said: “Hansen’s disease”—that’s the other modern name, I guess, for leprosy—“Hansen’s disease was so rare in America that in forty years only 900 people were afflicted. Suddenly, in the past three years America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy,” Lou.

    LOU DOBBS: It’s remarkable that this—whatever, confusion or confoundment over 7,000 cases. They actually keep a registry of cases of leprosy. And the fact that it rose was because of—one assumes, because we don’t know for sure—but two basic influences: unscreened illegal immigrants coming into this country, primarily from South Asia, and the—secondly, far better reporting.

    CHRISTINE ROMANS: That’s what Dr. Cosman told us, Lou.

    LOU DOBBS: And, you know, in talking with a number of people, it’s also very clear no one knows, but nearly everyone suspects, there are far more cases of that. It is also, I think, interesting, and I think important to say, one of the reasons we screen people coming into this country is to deal with communicable diseases like leprosy, tuberculosis. The fact is, if we would just screen successfully, all of those diseases can be treated effectively, efficiently and relatively quickly.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Lou Dobbs on the show. The source behind the claim that there was a spike of 7,000 new cases of leprosy was a controversial medical attorney named Madeleine Cosman. In 2005, she described undocumented immigrants as “deadly time bombs, because of the diseases they bring into the country.” Cosman, who died last year, has also been criticized for these comments she made about Mexican men.

    MADELEINE COSMAN: Recognize that most of these bastards molest girls under age twelve, some as young as age five, others age three. Although, of course, some specialize in boys, some specialize in nuns, some are exceedingly versatile and rape little girls age eleven and women up to age seventy-nine.

    What is important here is the psychiatric defenses: Why do they do what they do? They do not need a jail; they need a hospital. They are depraved because they were deprived in their home country. But more important is the cultural defense: they suffer from psychiatric cognitive disjuncture, for what does a poor man do if in his home country of Mexico in his jurisdiction if rape is ranked lower than cow stealing? Of course, he will not know how to behave here in strange America. This is thoroughly reprehensible.

AMY GOODMAN: Madeleine Cosman, that’s her quote. She actually is not a medical doctor. She’s a Renaissance author and scholar of sorts. Lou Dobbs?


JUAN GONZALEZ: OK, Lou, I’d like to get into—take this in a much deeper perspective than just the particular fact—

LOU DOBBS: I hope so.

JUAN GONZALEZ: —because I’ve been very concerned about the lack of historical understanding of the immigration battles in our country, going back to the Irish in the 1840s. Father Joseph Fitzpatrick, who was a wonderful sociologist of Fordham University, once did a study of the criminal populations in New York City in 1859, concluded that 83% of all the criminal convictions in 1859 in New York City were Irish—were Irish, not Canadian, Scotch, English or Germans or the other bulk of the population in New York at the time, but were Irish, right? Henry McLaughlin, the—

LOU DOBBS: What in the world is your point?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, I’m getting to my point, but give me the time to do it. We have time on this show, unlike—we don’t do soundbites here, alright?

LOU DOBBS: No, and you certainly don’t do representative journalism, either.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Henry McLaughlin, Lou, was the guy who was the main consultant to the US Congress in developing the immigration restriction laws of the 1920s, a eugenicist who, interestingly enough, examined the facts—high crime rates among the immigrant population in the 1920s. Tuberculosis, disease, drunkenness—and these were the reasons—his studies of the population of the immigrant population were the basis upon which Congress decided on its restrictive laws to limit the number of southern Europeans, of Jews and of other nationalities that were coming into the country at the time. My point is that the issue of crime and the issue of disease has always been attempted by those who want to restrict immigration, right? But identifying—

LOU DOBBS: Juan, you’re smarter than this. I mean—

JUAN GONZALEZ: —with the immigrant population coming into the country.

LOU DOBBS: You’re smarter than this. You’re better than this.

JUAN GONZALEZ: You know, you’re doing the same thing that Henry—


JUAN GONZALEZ: —McLaughlin did in the 1920s—

LOU DOBBS: Oh, you’re—

JUAN GONZALEZ: —and the same thing that was done against the Irish—

LOU DOBBS: Juan, if you believe that—

JUAN GONZALEZ: —in the 1850s.

LOU DOBBS: If you believe that, you should look into that camera and say you apologize for trying to mislead people purposefully. The reality is this. Have you ever once heard me say anything other than I have the greatest respect for illegal immigrants in this country? Illegal immigrants. Forget immigrants, illegal immigrants. Have you ever heard me say anything other than that? Have you ever heard me say anything other than, I believe that the illegal alien in this entire mess is the only rational actor? Have you ever heard me say that? Have you ever read the transcripts of my broadcasts? Do you have any—

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, I’ve read quite a few of your transcripts. Not all of them, I have to confess. I work with—

LOU DOBBS: Would you like to tell me? Have you ever heard me say anything other than that? Have you ever heard me say that I want to have immigration restricted? I mean, my god, man, do you have any—any—sense of fidelity to the reality?


JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, I’d like to move on. I want to play a report from your show covering former Mexican President Vicente Fox’s May 2000 visit to the United States. Your reporter Casey Wian—


JUAN GONZALEZ: Wian, I’m sorry—described the visit as a, quote, “Mexican military incursion.” This aired on May 23, 2006.

    CASEY WIAN: This Mexican military incursion was fully authorized: a Mexican air force jet carrying President Vicente Fox, who was not just invited to Utah, but encouraged to visit by Governor John Huntsman.

    PRESIDENT VICENTE FOX: We fully support the businessmen from Utah and Mexico…

    CASEY WIAN: It’s estimated Utah has about 100,000 illegal aliens, and the number is growing rapidly. Utah is also a part of the territory some militant Latino activists refer to as Aztlan, the portion of the Southwest United States they claim rightfully belongs to Mexico.

    You could call this the Vicente Fox Aztlan tour, since the three states he’ll visit—Utah, Washington, and California—are all part of some radical group’s vision of the mythical indigenous homeland, Lou.

    LOU DOBBS: Casey, thank you very much.

JUAN GONZALEZ: The Southern Poverty Law Center criticized CNN for airing that report, in part because, as your reporter Casey Wian spoke, a graphic appeared on the screen. It was a map of the United States highlighting the seven Southwestern states that Mexico supposedly covets and calls Aztlan. The map was prominently sourced to the Council of Conservative Citizens, which is considered by many to be a white supremacist hate group.

AMY GOODMAN: Your response, Lou Dobbs?

LOU DOBBS: You know the response, and you know the reality. That—how long was that screen up? How long was that map up?

AMY GOODMAN: Enough to see it.

JUAN GONZALEZ: A few seconds.

LOU DOBBS: The field producer who—did you know it was from the CCC? Which is a hate group.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s attributed right there. It says Council of Conservative Citizens.

LOU DOBBS: Right. And it couldn’t be clearer, could it? I mean, we weren’t hiding anything. We had no idea what they were. The field producer who used it went on the web, pulled—did a “grab,” as it’s called, and put it up. And she was suspended for a day for doing so.


LOU DOBBS: Barbara Coe was never a guest.

AMY GOODMAN: No. She was quoted on the show—

LOU DOBBS: That’s different.

AMY GOODMAN: —bitterly attacking Home Depot for betraying Americans, apparently because Hispanic day laborers often gather in front of the store looking for work. Not mentioned were her group, listed by the Southern Poverty Leadership Council as a hate group, or the fact that she routinely refers to Mexicans as “savages.” Coe recently described herself as a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the white pride group formed from the remnants—

LOU DOBBS: What year was that?

AMY GOODMAN: —of the segregationist White Citizens’ Council of the ’50s and ’60s,—

LOU DOBBS: What year was she—

AMY GOODMAN: —which Thurgood Marshall called the “Uptown Klan.”

LOU DOBBS: My god, Amy, what year was that on our broadcast? What year?

AMY GOODMAN: Not clear. You can tell me what year was it on your broadcast.

LOU DOBBS: Well, actually, I can, but it was years ago. And it was before we knew what the heck was going on.


AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Spencer, head of the anti-immigration American Patrol, has been interviewed at least twice on the show in 2004, maybe many more times after—I don’t know. Spencer’s website is jammed with anti-Mexican vitriol. He pushes the idea the Mexican government is involved in a secret plot to take over the Southwest—


AMY GOODMAN: —facts never mentioned on your show. His group is regarded as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

LOU DOBBS: You know, well, I really don’t care what—

AMY GOODMAN: Spencer has spoken at least twice to the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens.

LOU DOBBS: You know, I got to be honest with you. I have no knowledge of this fellow. I have no idea—and you’re not telling me when he was on the broadcast.

AMY GOODMAN: You had him on the show. I said—

LOU DOBBS: No, I did not have him on the show. He was quoted—

AMY GOODMAN: January 7th—

LOU DOBBS: He was either quoted in a piece—

AMY GOODMAN: No, no, no. No, no, Lou. On January 7, 2004, and June 4, 2004—


AMY GOODMAN: —he was interviewed on your broadcast.

LOU DOBBS: He was not on our broadcast. He may have been in a field report. He was not on our broadcast.


AMY GOODMAN: Another guest that you’ve had on the show—now, this is a very important point, and this is one that you would agree that you’ve covered, and that is Arizona—this is very important—the Protect Arizona Now referendum. In late 2004, it was revealed that the new head of the national advisory board to Protect Arizona Now, an anti-immigration organization, was a longtime white supremacist who was also an editorial advisor to the racist Council of Conservative Citizens. Although Virginia Abernethy’s controversial selection was reported prominently in virtually every Arizona paper, and despite the fact that Lou Dobbs heavily cover the anti-immigration referendum that Protect Arizona Now was advocating, you never mentioned the affair at all, her controversial selection as head of this group.

LOU DOBBS: And she was featured in how many reports?

AMY GOODMAN: The point is, you covered Protect Arizona Now extensively, and this is certainly significant, when it turns out that the head of the board of Protect Arizona Now is—

LOU DOBBS: And when was the last time she was on the show?

AMY GOODMAN: No, the important point is, you didn’t report the news of this very controversial—

LOU DOBBS: Is it possible—

AMY GOODMAN: —racist woman who headed Protect Arizona Now, which was virtually in every Arizona paper. The question is—

LOU DOBBS: Concurrent with our reporting?

AMY GOODMAN: —what you report and what you don’t.

LOU DOBBS: Concurrent with our reporting?

AMY GOODMAN: Of course. This is in 2004. The point is, what you report, Lou, and what you don’t report.


AMY GOODMAN: But let me give you one more clip, and that is around the issue of the Minutemen.


AMY GOODMAN: This was the Minuteman Project, organizers calling their effort a peaceful protest over the government’s failure to secure its borders. Both the Mexican government and the Bush administration have described the Minutemen as vigilantes. You have been a vocal supporter.

    LOU DOBBS: I just want to be clear to the Journal and to this audience: I support the Minuteman Project and the fine Americans who make it up and all they’ve accomplished, fully, relentlessly and proudly.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s you, Lou.

LOU DOBBS: That’s me.

AMY GOODMAN: Bill Parmley, a Minuteman leader in Goliad County in Texas, quit the group because of, what he described, widespread racism. Another Texas Minuteman, Janet Ahrens, had resigned because members, she said, wanted to “shoot the taco meat.” You never mentioned either of these people. Why not talk about these people quitting, because they’re concerned about how racist this group is?

LOU DOBBS: Well, frankly, I didn’t know about it.


The Denver Post is reporting that Tom Tancredo is quitting his one issue presidential race today. That follows the announcement from a few weeks back that Tancredo is quitting Congress after this year. Is it possible this guy will now do the world a favor and fade in to obscurity? Or is another cable news network dangling an offer to try and compete with Mr. Dobbs?

December 19, 2007

Delarenta It's rare for a person's name to also be a well-known brand. Dominican Republican native Oscar de la Renta's name is one of the most recognized in fashion and the brand has always been equated with high style.

Oscar de la Renta left the Domincan Republic at age 18 to study painting in Spain. It was there he started sketching for Spanish fashion houses and then moved on to Paris as his career in fashion design advanced. In 1963, he came to New York to design for Elizabeth Arden. Two years later, he debuted his ready-to-wear fashion label. In 2001, he expanded hsi label to include an accessories line and, more recently, he has rolled out a furniture collection and home fragrance line.

In 1996, Mr. de la Renta received the Lifetime Achevement Award from the Hispanic Hertitage Society  and has been the Grand Marshall of New York Ciety's Hispanic Day Parade. And he has used his wealth to help build a school and day-care center for 1200 children in his native Dominican Republic.

Oscar de la Renta's immigration history is also interesting. He is the son of a US citizen father and Dominican mother. But because of the laws in place at the time he was born, his father did not transmit citizenship to the designer. De la Renta is a US citizen today, but a naturalized one.