Lou Dobbs and Cesar Chavez, Back in the Day

In the wake of Lou Dobbs’s abrupt resignation from CNN, there’s been plenty of speculation about what he’ll do next: Jump to Fox? Run for president? Indulge his love of outer space?

But the most interesting thing I’ve read today about Dobbs is this passage on the early days of his career in journalism:

He found work, if not money, at a television-radio outfit in Yuma, Arizona, a border town with border problems. It was here Dobbs reported on César Chávez, as Chávez was working to build the United Farm Workers Union. “He was almost alone in his fight to win better wages and working conditions for farmworkers, and he was being fought by the growers associations, labor contractors who brought in ‘green carders’ from Mexico to undercut the UFW, and the Teamsters union who tried to create their own farmworkers union… and of course the farmers themselves, and the big agribusinesses,” recalls Dobbs. “Nearly all the activists today forget that he was one of the most vocal opponents of illegal immigration because they were, in his eyes, working as scabs… setting up the so-called wet line”—UFW border militias —”to stop the entry of illegals.”

That’s from Sridhar Pappu’s 2007 Mother Jones profile of Dobbs, who of course is now well-known for his opposition to illegal immigration. For a fuller take on Chavez’s views about undocumented immigrants, see the passage beginning on page 197 of David Guiterrez’s Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the Politics of Ethnicity.

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Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.