Our VoiceImmigration

American Hypocrisy

Rev. David L. Ostendorf • Oct 13, 2010

louThat Lou Dobbs and Meg Whitman—immigrant bashers extraordinaire—were both outed within a few days of each other for allegedly employing undocumented workers was amazingly… unsurprising.  The ever testy Dobbs, not unexpectedly, seethed at the allegations.  Whitman, having declared the Latino vote crucial to her success, stumbled and may have completely torched her campaign as a result of her recent admission that she had an undocumented immigrant housekeeper for nine years.  Both have used immigrants and immigration as foils for their politics; both have helped expose, once again, the utter, base hypocrisy of anti-immigrant fervor in the U.S.

Dobb’s and Whitman’s personal variations of the infamous “nanny problem” is a stark reminder that low-wage immigrants and refugees are the life-blood not only of the servant economy supporting the high and mighty of all political persuasions, but also for virtually every resident of the U.S., regardless of social position.  Other than the few who spuriously claim to have untangled from the political economy, the benefits of low-wage workers of color accrue to all.  To hold otherwise is to embrace this infectious American hypocrisy.

Drink milk for breakfast?  Eat eggs?  Fruit?  Lettuce or tomatoes for lunch?  Meat or poultry on your plate?  A hamburger?  Eat at home?  Go to a restaurant?  Fast food or organic?  Stay in a motel or hotel?  Been to a conference?  Grocery store?  Gas station?  Car wash?  Live where construction is underway?  Had your office cleaned? Yes?  Immigrant and refugee workers make it all possible.

The irony of Dobbs’ response to his own immigrant employee outing is not to be lost.  “You’re asking me and millions of other Americans to engage in racial profiling…to make sure this thing doesn’t happen,” he said piously.  Really?  Sorry Lou, that doesn’t fly, even though it does reflect the truth of the immigrant and refugee debate—that we are, in fact, talking about low-wage workers of color who are exploited every day by way of a political economy that benefits everyone.  Immigration is indeed about race, and those who are so opposed to immigrants reflect, indeed, the depths of structural racism that pervades the country.

So, tea partiers and immigrant bashers show us how deep your politics really are. Come on, FAIR, CIS, NumbersUSA, PFIR, ATB, and Tanton Network minions, show us just how committed you are to “restricting immigration.”  Step up, you “enforcement only” politicians and candidates.  Take a look, Lou and Meg and Rush.  Check out every restaurant, meeting place, lodging, grocer, employer, and work place you frequent to make absolutely sure no immigrants are employed there or have anything to do with the food you eat, the purchases you make, or the services you rely on and, if so, make sure you turn around and go some place where only “American workers” touch your lives. Then and only then can you claim to live by your convictions and your politics.  Otherwise you’re just American hypocrites.

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