Lou Dobbs, CNN anchor and self-dubbed “Mr. Independent” signed off from his nightly post on the network Wednesday night. Ending a nearly 30-year career with CNN and a long history of spreading misinformation about immigration and immigrants, his departure marks a interesting opportunity for immigration reformers to stand up for a fair and honest debate of immigration policy.

While Dobbs may have believed he was standing up for the best interests of American workers, his style of divisive, truth-challenged reporting on immigrants and immigration has made it even more difficult to get accurate information into an already emotionally-charged debate. In fact, his brand of advocacy journalism has done a disservice to those American-workers who he claims to champion. Standing up for the status quo in immigration and pushing for a punitive, enforcement-only solution has done little to solve the problem and a lot to hurt those same American workers.

However, to assume Dobbs is leaving the debate altogether is probably wishful thinking. Although his future plans are unknown, it is likely that he will continue beating the anti-immigrant drum from any perch he eventually lands on citing immigration policy as “one of the major issues of our time” in his farewell speech. However, highlighting radical groups like the Minutemen and discussing conspiracy theories, like a reconquest of the Southwest by Mexico will be better suited to whatever space he carves out for himself in ideological radio, television or politics. He will likely use his anti-immigrant stance to further his career ambitions, but he would be wise to take a lesson from those who have used and failed with this approach in the past.

So while some may cheer at Dobbs departure from CNN, those who stand for common sense solutions to our nation’s most challenging problems should know that much harder work lies ahead. The challenge of promoting a respectful and honest debate that brings us towards solutions and that is in tune with our economic needs and core values is harder to sustain than a cheap, easy one that plays on public fear and makes good sound bites.

Photo by ccheykain.