CNN’s Lou Dobbs has done a good job of holding the Bush Administration’s feet to the fire on illegal immigration and other critical issues. He has been one of the few commentators, for example, focusing attention on the scheme known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership, the precursor to a North American Union. But on January 23, 2007, Dobbs let his anti-Bush bias get the better of him. He allowed Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel to rant and rave about Bush’s plan for a guest worker program being a form of slavery. Rangel’s incendiary rhetoric obscured the fact that Rangel has a record on immigration that is worse than the President’s. Dobbs should not have let Rangel get away with it.
Rangel said, “I don’t see?all of this business about jobs that no American wants to do? You pay American workers, give them health care and a pension, believe me, we don’t need people coming in to do jobs that Americans will do if the pay was right?” Rangel went on to say that “This guest worker program’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to slavery. I mean, how do you bring people over here and the employer decides how long you’re going to stay and God knows what you’ve got to do if they have a baby. Do we change the Constitution and say that the child’s now a citizen? I would hate to believe that this great country of ours in order to free, or rather, to bring cheap labor for entrepreneurs are willing to have a contract with Mexico to do this.
The transcript of this interview can be seen here.
Dobbs never asked Rangel to explain what he was talking about. How is a guest worker program for immigrants, who voluntarily come into and leave the U.S., slavery? Rangel’s comments were laughable.
But there is another question: if Rangel does feel so strongly against illegal immigration, then why is his record so poor on the issue when it comes to enforcing immigration laws, penalizing businesses that hire illegal workers, or reducing immigration numbers? According to Americans for Better Immigration, Rangel was given a mark of F Minus for his voting record on illegal immigration.
Dobbs missed this opportunity to question Rangel about how the Congressman could speak so strongly against illegal immigration while continually supporting open border polices.
Among the questions Dobbs should have asked: If Rangel is so strongly against anchor babies, then why doesn’t he vote that way?
Rangel creates the impression that he is against the custom of birth-right citizenship, which adds more than 200,000 new citizens to the United States each year. But according to Americans for Better Immigration, Rangel has never sponsored legislation or voted to deny automatic citizenship to the children of illegals.
But Rangel’s comparison of a guest worker program to slavery was the most bizarre comment he made on the show. Perhaps not wanting to lose this sound bite, which was sure to generate headlines since it was coming from a black Democrat, Dobbs didn’t dispute Rangel.
But common sense tells you that a guest worker program is not like slavery. Slaves were whipped, couldn’t go to school, worship, travel, marry, or enjoy any freedoms afforded to citizens. In addition, slaves were the permanent property of an individual, and all against their will. That’s not the case with guest workers.
To be entirely accurate, guest workers would be more like indentured servants, who would work for a company, for an agreed-upon time, enjoying many of the freedoms afforded to citizens, and they would be compensated for their services. Also, by the time their indentured servitude was over, the servants had the opportunity to become citizens, just like guest workers would under Bush’s plan.
The problem was that indentured servitude didn’t work. Historically speaking, it was then, in order to find a more reliable and cheap form of labor, that slavery began.
The President’s guest worker plan can be criticized on many grounds, but the claim that it would constitute slavery is not one of them. Rangel’s wild rhetoric seems designed to confuse the issue and mislead people about the fact that the Democrats are even worse than Bush on the immigration problem.
We’re extremely disappointed that Lou Dobbs let down his guard in this interview. Is Dobbs going easy on the Democrats now that they have taken power in Congress? If so, his carefully nurtured status as a non-partisan friend of America’s middle class will be in jeopardy.