Following reporter James Rosen's departure from Fox News at the end of 2017, NPR released a bombshell report that revealed he had engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior with three of his colleagues during his 18-year tenure at the network.
One of the employees, who was not named in the report, is a foreign national and worked alongside Rosen as a producer at the State Department. According to the report, Rosen sexually harassed her directly. Due to her immigration status, however, she accepted a deal from Fox that would allow her to extend her employment and, therefore, her stay in the United States, in exchange for her silence and not publicly complaining about the incident.
The producer now lives abroad and works for a foreign-based news service.
This brings up a new intersection of the #MeToo movement that hasn't really been discussed. How does a company deal with sexual harassment and assault in the workplace if the victims are here in the country on a guest-worker visa? The alleged sexual misconduct of Rosen exposes the power that sexual predators, as well as companies, have over immigrants who are here in the country both legally and illegally. The repercussions of reporting sexual harassment and assault grow exponentially in risk when one's immigration status can be called into question. If reporting abuse by a beloved employee is met with a harsh response from management, they can not only end your employment but send you back wherever you came from.
As the immigration debate heats up in Washington and lawmakers decide what aspects need to be addressed, they should consider adding protections for guest workers who are dealing with abuse in the workplace should they try to report such abuse and remove themselves from the environment they're working in without having to leave the country. It's not a hard solution, and if anything, can be a cause championed by both Democrats and Republicans as a move that levels the playing field in the fight against sexual harassment and assault, and, most importantly, amplifies the voices of guest workers.
Siraj Hashmi is a commentary video editor and writer for the Washington Examiner.