VIDEO: What Part of “Legal” Don’t You Understand, Lou?

Part One of "Lou Dobbs' Convention of Lies" analyzed several distortions Lou made on his September 10th edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, at a rally by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. For Part Two, click on the video below:

In an attempt to temper his aggressive rhetoric towards illegal immigration, Lou Dobbs has often claimed that he supports legal immigration.
DOBBS: You cannot reform immigration if you can’t control it. You cannot control immigration unless you control the borders. Absolutely. I am also for raising legal immigration.1


I am just excited about legal immigration – I’m more excited.2
Of course, when it comes down to actually supporting legal immigration, Lou backs down.
DOBBS: Both presidential candidates support expanding guest worker visa programs, programs that bring in cheap foreign labor at the expense of American workers. Bill Tucker has our report.

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is no shortage of programs to import foreign workers into the American economy… And there is not a single study documenting the fact that we need all of these guest worker visa programs. But what we do have is eight straight months of rising unemployment and we have, Lou, a Congress ready to add more visas into this mix. Zoe Lofgren yesterday introduced a bill into the House to do what they call recapture 550,000 visas at a time when the unemployment rate in this country is 6.1 percent. They want to add another half million foreign workers into this economy.3
Had Dobbs’s staff actually bothered to do some research, instead of repeating talking points from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a designated hate group,4 they would have easily found that:
  1. The bill recaptures permanent immigrant visas, commonly known as “green cards,” not guest worker visas.
  2. About half the visas are family-based (for spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents), not employment-based.
  3. These are not new visas, but visas already allotted by law to family- and employment-based immigrants that USCIS and the State Department failed to use from 1992 to 2007.5
The bill (HR 5882) was recently introduced in the House by Representatives Zoe Lofgren and Jim Sensenbrenner and has received significant bi-partisan support. Even noted conservative Grover Norquist, of Americans for Tax Reform, wrote a letter of support for the bill, stating:
H.R. 5882 will recapture un-used green cards back to 1992, and reallocates them to reduce current green card backlog. It also allows any unused green cards to be rolled over to the following year.6
Government officials see the visa recapture bill as a solution to the problem of backlogs. On April 30, 2008, during a hearing on the growing backlogs of visas, Charles Oppenheim, chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division for the State Department, expressed his professional opinion of the bill.
Mr. OPPENHEIM: The contemplated bill [HR 5882] will be the final step, I believe, and it will allow us instead of having to have unused numbers fall across to the opposite category, they can be retained for use in that category the following year. That is a tremendous step forward and will allow – if for one reason there was – we were unable to use the numbers this year, then we would have the following years to use them.

Rep. LOFGREN: So that would give you a little leeway in your estimates? You wouldn’t have to hit perfection every—

Mr. OPPENHEIM: Exactly. It is a perfect solution.7
So if everybody agrees that the bill would help smooth out the legal immigration system, why doesn’t Lou support it? Maybe it’s because he doesn’t support any type of immigration, legal or otherwise.
1. Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN, aired 26 May 2006
2. Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN, aired 28 March 2007
3. Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN, aired 10 Sept 2008
4. See: Heidi Beirich, "The Teflon Nativists: FAIR Marked by Ties to White Supremacy," SPLC Intelligence Report, Winter 2007.
5. HR 5882, 110th Congress, 2nd Session, April 23, 2008
6. Grover Norquist, Letter to Chairwoman Lofgren and Ranking Member Steve King, Americans for Tax Reform, 10 Sept 2008
7. "Hearing on Wasted Visas, Growing Backlogs," Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law, House Judiciary Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, 30 Apr 2008

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund