MALDEF

Lou Dobbs' Convention of Lies: Part One

Lies and distortion are nothing new to Lou Dobbs and his CNN correspondents. But this past week, we were shocked to see how much misinformation Lou was able to pack into one show on September 10. In fact, there are so many lies that we had to split up this posting. Stay tuned for Part Two.

Distortion #1:
DOBBS: Let's remember that not only do about a million illegal aliens cross [the U.S.-Mexico] border [each year], but so do the majority of all of the heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and heroin [sic] entering the United States. All of it -- nearly all of it originating in Mexico.1
Wrong. The estimated undocumented population grows by about 500,000 people a year, some who entered legally, and not all of whom entered through the U.S.-Mexico border.2 Jeff Passel of the Pew Hispanic Center adds:
Had the annual settlement of Mexicans in the U.S. been as large as the apprehensions measures (1 million per year) or even larger (3 million per year) as some commentators have suggested, Mexico would have long ago been emptie[d] of its male population.3
Dobbs’ assertions about the illegal drug trade are false as well. In its 2007 World Drug Report, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stated:
On Heroin Production:
Around 92 per cent of the world’s heroin comes from poppies grown in Afghanistan.4

On Cocaine Production:
Most of the world’s cocaine comes from coca leaf cultivated in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. . . The USA remains the world’s largest cocaine consumer, and some 88 per cent of the cocaine destined for the USA transits the Central America/Mexico corridor. . . Most of the cocaine flow today is maritime and given the cost and complexity of trafficking on the high seas, this fact alone suggests high levels of organization.5

On Methamphetamine Production:
The largest production areas for methamphetamine continue to be in South-East Asia… and in North America. Traditionally, the majority of methamphetamine in the USA was produced domestically, with the precursor chemicals smuggled into this country via Canada or Mexico… However, Mexico has now also improved its precursor control regime, prompting drug trafficking organizations to exploit other areas, such as Central America and possibly Africa.6
Distortion #2:
DOBBS: And the reality is that the four industries in which illegal aliens are hired in the largest measure. That is hospitality, leisure, read hotels, restaurants, landscaping, and construction. In all four of those industries, wages have declined over the past five years.7
Of course, Lou fails to point out that, according to the Wall Street Journal, wages for almost all workers, except doctors and lawyers, fell between 2000 to 2007:
Workers with professional degrees, such as doctors and lawyers, were the only educational group to see their inflation-adjusted earnings increase over the most recent economic expansion, adding to the concern that the economy has benefited higher-earning Americans at the expense of others.

Workers in every other educational group -- including Ph.D.s as well as high school dropouts -- earned less in 2007 than they did in 2000, adjusted for inflation, according to data from the Census Bureau.
8
The New York Times also noted that “[t]here is scant evidence that illegal immigrants have caused any significant damage to the wages of American workers.”9

Distortion #3:
DOBBS: We have been called racists, xenophobes, all sorts of nastiness from groups that -- like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has become a hate group of its own, referring to FAIR [Federation of American Immigration Reform] as a hate group simply because they want illegal immigration stopped and border security, port security put in place.10
Dobbs offers no evidence as to how the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) could possibly be classified as a hate group, particularly because they have been fighting hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan for over 30 years. Morever, SPLC outlined why they had classified FAIR as a “hate group” in a December 2007 article. Their reasons:
  • Founder John Tanton has held leadership roles in two white supremacist groups: the Council of Conservative Citizens and the National Policy Institute
  • Tanton has compared immigrants to bacteria: “In the bacteriology lab, we have culture plates . . . You put a bug in there and it starts growing and gets bigger and bigger. And it grows until it finally fills the whole plate. And it crashes and dies.”
  • FAIR has received over a million dollars from the Pioneer Fund, an organization promoting eugenics and “racial betterment.”
  • In Feb 2007, a senior FAIR official sought “advice” from the leaders of a racist Belgian political party.11
Distortion #4:

During an interview with radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock, Dobbs fails to challenge his guest’s claims that immigrants negatively affect our neighborhoods.
HEDGECOCK: What we've got to do is say we the people are not going to put up with those kinds of invasions. We're not going to put up with the social problems. We're not going to put up with the community costs and the crime rates.12
Blaming immigrants for the nation’s social ills is nothing new. But without any evidence, those claims are empty. Immigrants commit fewer crimes and are incarcerated at lower rates than native-born Americans.13 And the Immigration Policy Center found that:
Although the undocumented immigrant population doubled to about 12 million from 1994 to 2004, data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that the violent crime rate in the United States declined by 35.1 percent during this time and the property crime rate fell by 25.0 percent. The decline in crime rates was not just national, but also occurred in border cities and other cities with large immigrant populations such as San Diego, El Paso, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami.14
Distortion #5:
DOBBS: I don't see how anybody can support John McCain or Barack Obama given their position [of supporting comprehensive immigration reform] against the American people because it is straightforwardly against the American people.15
Lou Dobbs assumes that the majority of Americans are opposed to comprehensive immigration reform, which, again, is false. Polls taken throughout 2007 showed that a majority of Americans support a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants.16

Distortion #6:

Perhaps the most ridiculous claim is the one made by XM radio talk show host Joe Madison during an interview with Dobbs.
DOBBS: At the same time, Zoe Lofgren, the Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi, the leadership of this Congress and Senator Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, advancing a program initiative in this Congress to add another 550,000 visas that would bring in cheap foreign labor . . .

MADISON: And can I add one other thing? The impact that it's had on foreclosures, people losing their homes, and do you know today, I received an e-mail where in Michigan, I believe Macomb County, not too far from Detroit, there's a Republican leader suggesting that if your home was foreclosed on, you can't vote?

DOBBS: That's brilliant.17
Truth in Immigration will be addressing Dobbs’ distortions about the Lofgren visa recapture bill in Part Two, but for now, we simply need to point out how ridiculous and baseless it is to accuse immigrants and foreign workers for the current home foreclosure crisis. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
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1. Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN, Aired 10 Sept 2008.
2. Jeffrey Passel, “Unauthorized Migrants in the United States: Estimates, Methods, and Characteristics,”EconPapers, 5 Sept 2007.
3. Id.
4. "World Drug Report," United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2007.
5. Id.
6. Id.
7. Dobbs, supra note 1
8. Conor Dougherty, "High-Degree Professionals Show Power," Wall Street Journal, 10 Sept 2008.
9. Eduardo Porter, "Cost of Illegal Immigration May Be Less Than Meets the Eye," New York Times, 16 Apr 2006.
10. Dobbs, supra note 1
11. Heidi Beirich, "The Teflon Nativists: FAIR Marked by Ties to White Supremacy," SPLC Intelligence Report, Winter 2007.
12. Dobbs, supra note 1
13. See Ruben G. Rumbaut, Ph.D. and Walter A. Ewing Ph.D, “The Myth of Immigrant Criminality: Incarceration Rates among Native and Foreign Born Men,” Immigration Policy Center, Spring 2007; Kristin F. Butcher and Anne Morrison Piehl, “Crime, Corrections, and California: What Does Immigration Have to Do with It, Public Policy Institute of California,” Feb. 2008, Vol. 9, No. 3; Robert J. Sampson, “Rethinking Crime and Immigration,” Contexts: Understanding People in Their Social Worlds, American Sociological Association, Winter 2008
14. "Setting the Record Straight on Immigrants and Crime," Immigration Policy Center, 10 Sept 2008.
15. Dobbs, supra note 1
16. "While Debate Rages, Public Continues to Support Realistic Immigration Solutions." National Immigration Forum, December 10, 2007
17. Dobbs, supra note 1

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