Dobbs can’t handle the truth

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Immigration attorney Greg Siskind drew the ire of Lou Dobbs, who recently featured on his show an item Siskind had posted on his blog a while back.  Dobbs didn’t like Siskind’s research showing that Dobbs’ repeated claim that he supports legal immigration—a common misleading tactic of restrictionists—is false.

DOBBS: The pro-amnesty lobby at it again, telling all-out lies about my position on illegal immigration and our border security crisis. The latest example of the pro-illegal aliens' movements' lies coming in a letter to the "Wall Street Journal" today. Douglas Rivlin, director of communication for the National Immigration Forum, says quote, "research by attorney Greg Siskind suggests that 96 times Lou Dobbs talked about legal immigration on his nightly CNN show, dating back to 2001, 92 times he painted legal immigration in a negative light."

Well, Mr. Rivlin, here's a little research you might add to your own. The vast majority of Greg Siskind's analysis is based on my justified criticism of abuses in the system for temporary work visas, specifically H1B visas in nearly every case, not legal immigration.

Dobbs’ point here turns on a distinction of legal terminology between immigrant and non-immigrant visas.  Immigrant visas are green cards, non-immigrant visas are inherently temporary and include student visas, tourist visas, and H-1B visas.  One key difference between “immigrant” and “non-immigrant” visas is that the former category permits “immigrant intent,” or the objective of living in the U.S. permanently, while the latter does not.  However, Dobbs doesn’t acknowledge that the H-1B visa allows for “dual intent,” which means that an H-1B visa holder can also apply for a green card through his or her employer without violating the terms of his/her status.  Probably most H-1B visa holders do try to become permanent residents.  So the H-1B visa program is de facto one of the major sources of legal immigration.  Also, most readers or viewers are likely not aware of the immigrant/non-immigrant distinction and apply the common usage of “legal immigration” to anyone who comes to the country legally, including those who use the H-1B program.

As for other cases cited by Mr. Siskind, who, by the way is, as you might guess, an immigration lawyer, we highlighted legitimate concerns about chain migration, terrorism, fraudulent asylum applications, as well.

As an immigration attorney myself, Dobbs impugning the motives of immigration attorneys is like me impugning the motives of multimillionaire conservative cable media personalities—of course immigration attorneys are going to fight for immigrants, of course multimillionaire conservative cable media personalities are going to push a nativist, regressive, heads-in-the-sand agenda.  It’s in the nature of things.

For the record, I am absolutely supportive of legal immigration. In fact, I favor even higher levels of legal immigration when it suits public policy. Let me repeat -- we are the most welcoming nation in the world for immigrants and I've consistently called for an increase in legal immigration when warranted.

And also for the record, we should point out that the National Immigration Forum is supported by groups such as -- are you ready -- the National Restaurant Association, the American Nursery and Landscape Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, all groups that we should point out, that have a vested interest in importing as much cheap labor into this country as possible, and by the way, the "Wall Street Journal" failed to note that. And, of course, that's understandable, too.

Siskind responded persuasively on his blog.

I would just respond to Mr. Dobbs by turning the question back to him - where out of the years and years of your nightly coverage of immigration is there a single positive story on immigration? Yes, a large number of your stories on legal immigration had to do with H-1B visas, but that's what you chose to cover and the H-1B is the main legal immigration route for skilled workers. And there are numerous other subjects in the coverage as well, all of which are critical. If you really do think legal immigration may be good for the country, surely in your years of nightly coverage of the subject, you could have found a couple of minutes to say something nice. You say you consistently have called for an increase in legal immigration "when warranted." Except you've never actually mentioned when it's warranted. You are against family immigration and have called it "chain migration." You have attacked the employment-based green card system. You've targeted the most common work visas - the H-1B and L-1. You've attacked our asylum system as basically being the immigration strategy of choice for terrorists.

You've got your nightly bully pulpit, Mr. Dobbs, with several hours each week to say exactly what you think with the depth you need. Yet you've had not a single report praising any aspect of legal immigration. And while you say you support more legal immigration "when appropriate" your coverage indicates that "appropriate" is only when a certain place freezes over.

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MonatanaPatriot said:

Very Well Said!


SJ Reidhead said:

Dobbs tried playing the semantics game on me about a year ago over an article I wrote for Blog Critics, linking him to John Tanton. He was furious, demanded a retraction - that he'd never met Tanton. See comment #97, and then I have a reply on page 3

This is his "MO"

The Pink Flamingo

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This page contains a single entry by David Bennion published on May 7, 2008 7:45 AM.

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