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Lou Dobbs Hired Illegal Immigrants: The Nation

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UPDATE: On his radio show Thursday, Lou Dobbs and The Nation's Isabel Macdonald, who wrote the story alleging that Dobbs has been employing undocumented workers for years, sparred over the claims in the magazine's article. Dobbs called the piece a "fairly typical hit piece" and a "smear piece," and repeatedly asked Macdonald if she had found evidence that he had directly employed undocumented immigrants. She countered that his contractors and trainers had been employing undocumented workers for over four years. The two are also slated to appear on Thursday's "Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell" at 10 PM on MSNBC.

ORIGINAL POST: Lou Dobbs has become notorious for his hard-line stance on undocumented immigrants--and the people who hire them. Yet, as an explosive investigation released Thursday in The Nation uncovered, Dobbs has been relying on undocumented workers for years to maintain the upkeep of his homes and of the horses he bought for his daughter.

In the article, "Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite," author Isabel Macdonald spoke to at least five undocumented immigrants who were hired by Dobbs. Some were hired to help with the care and transport of the horse Dobbs' daughter Hillary, who is a champion show jumper, used in her professional career. Maconald spoke to one immigrant, whom she called Marco Salinas:

An old friend of Salinas's worked as a groom with some of the horses owned by Dobbs, and he had sent word that Salinas could be hired on as a groom at the Vermont stable contracted to care for the Dobbs Group horses.

Salinas got the job, he said, and worked at it for more than two years without documents until he was finally able to obtain a guest-worker visa designed for seasonal foreign workers (the same kind of visa denounced as a form of "indentured servitude" on Dobbs's CNN show).

I asked Salinas, still clad in his work clothes--a polo shirt and jeans--about Dobbs, the owner of the horses he cared for. But the father of three simply flashed a disarming grin, let out an easygoing laugh and politely declined to comment.

Macdonald spoke to other immigrants who worked in Dobbs' gardens, including a man named Rodrigo Ortega. Ortega told her about meeting Dobbs, who introduced himself in Spanish as "Luis." Ortega also said that Dobbs "knew very well that the majority of us didn't have papers," but that this "was never a problem."

Dobbs also neglected to pay Ortega and the other gardeners any overtime, even though they worked a fifty-hour week. Macdonald writes that this was consistent with Dobbs' overall treatment of his workers.

Read the full article here.

Watch the video report from The Nation: