In a piece published on the Guardian's website today, The Nation's Isabel Macdonald writes that Lou Dobbs is not exceptional for hiring undocumented workers. The real lesson to take away from the former CNN host's hypocrisy is just how important and how far-reaching comprehensive immigration reform could be to the future of the US economy. In fact, fighting for the labor rights of undocumented workers will improve the working conditions for all Americans.
In her recent article for The Nation, "Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite," Macdonald reported on the severely curtailed lives of the undocumented workers who tend to Dobbs's horses and estate. But beyond Dobbs's fences, an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants are working in similar conditions all across the country. Fearing losing their jobs or being deported, these immigrants are forced to work in a legal limbo that imposes a terrible toll, not just on their own wages and working conditions. According to Macdonald, the US worker's real enemy is not the undocumented immigrant, but the exploitative system that keeps these immigrants in the dark: "If undocumented workers could leave bad jobs, and protest terrible working conditions, employers might be forced to offer higher wages, and improve working conditions" for all Americans.