Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Lou Dobbs Crusade: Fear and Loathing of the Lettuce Picker

Dear Mr. Dobbs;

For years I’ve watched the Broken Borders segment of your show and waited to hear something about ALL illegal immigration in the U.S. But no, it’s all Mexico, all the time.

Like the more primitive of your ilk (the Limbaughs, the Drudges, 99 percent of Fox), your whole thesis of immigration-fueled problems in the U.S. boils down to two words: Blame Mexico.

Mr. Dobbs, do you really believe that EVERY serious immigration issue can be solved by closing the U.S.-Mexican border? Seriously?

No one denies the level of illegal immigration from coming from an impoverished country that once owned the territories they sneak into now can bring daunting problems, but to pretend that 1.) The U.S. doesn’t benefit as much or more than the immigrants themselves and that 2.) Some of our ugliest immigration issues have nothing to do with Latin America is rather naïve.

In the interest of understanding your thesis, I’ve got questions about some of your favorite Broken Border subjects:

Which ones? The kitchen and dishwashing gigs at your favorite restaurants? The crop picking stints or the domestic labor jobs for chump change they steal as the gather like hyenas in front of Home Depots?

I’ve lived in immigrant-heavy New York, Florida and Los Angeles and never seen one Latino laborer kick the door of a restaurant, hold a farmer or a homeowner hostage and demand to be underpaid to do heavy labor for them. Nope, it’s the bargain-hungry American that comes after them. Perhaps if we learned to love doing our own dishes or housework there will be less opportunities for these parasites to take advantage of the bounty they get from us. But I understand; it’s hard out there for a pimp, right?

To be fair, I remember you mentioned a couple of times how our white-collar jobs were being shipped to India and China. Wish you would’ve stayed on that story, but then you got distracted with lettuce pickers again while the middle class learned to compete with Third World rates in order to keep their jobs.

And in L.A. there are foreigners who sneak into our country for a shot at stardom in Hollywood. Many succeed to become directors, producers and actors. We don’t call them illegal aliens though. We call them Canadian.

Only Mexico’s border? The full picture is that some Al Qaeda terrorists did cross Mexico’s border to carry out the attacks in 9/11. But several also used Canada’s border and ALL secured legal visas into the U.S.

Yes, gangs and smugglers have come from South of the Border. Many other criminals from Latin America take advantage of the porous Mexican border to bring in drugs. But where are the stories about the mobs that run roughshod through the U.S.; the ones that deal in the most heinous of commodities; drugs, guns, and human trafficking? Modern day slavery is thriving around the world, including in the United States. Children and women from Eastern Europe, Asia and West Africa are brought to this country under false pretenses and exploited as forced servants and sex slaves. Every decade a new mob takes over inner cities like the one I grew up in and feast off the steady stream of undereducated young men to serve as minions to their drug cartels, only to die young or waste their lives in prison. What borders are they crossing?

You cannot be called a crusader when you’re only telling the smallest part of the illegal immigration story. Every day a young American falls prey to drugs brought in by mobsters, not Mexicans. So when will you talk about the illegal immigrant criminals from Italian or Albanian mafias that bring in those drugs? When will you talk about the innocent women from Albania or East Asia brought into this country against their will to live in subhuman conditions to serve as prostitutes?

Organized crime is the bloodiest and most destructive enterprise to thrive in American soil, run by illegal immigrants and supported by many Americans in power who seem to look the other way. They cost us billions of dollars and countless lives but no one talks about them. Instead we make movies and hit TV shows about them, give reality shows to anyone with Gotti’s last name and make chart-topping hip hop anthems about their lifestyle.

So Mr. Dobbs, next time you want to talk about the damage illegal immigration does to our pristine way of life, don’t half-ass it. Every time you complain about the Mexican laborer but ignore the dangers from other illegal immigrants, it demeans your cause. Like many talking heads in our media, there’s a nasty habit of getting self-righteous over the easier of our country’s challenges.

Admit it; it’s easier to bitch about the poor brown people coming in to take menial jobs that even our kids find beneath them. It feels like you’re doing something big without really tackling anything at all. Or maybe you’re right; maybe Latin American immigrants deserve your ire. If only they thought more like the mafia; bribed some government officials, rubbed elbows with the rich and famous, hire themselves out to kill people of power. Maybe then they wouldn’t be such a threat.

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