By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Dubious fatherhood

Steven Greenhouse has a good and important story on the front page of today’s New York Times about the exploitation of janitors, especially those who are illegal immigrants. Unfortunately, it’s undermined by a failure – it’s not clear whose – to do some elementary fact-checking.

Greenhouse writes that Isaias Garcia, who claims he’s owed $22,000 in back pay, is “a 24-year-old immigrant from Mexico … who lives with his wife, 5-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter in a one-bedroom apartment in Anaheim.” But the accompanying photo, by Monica Almeida, shows not two but three children. The caption reads: “Isaias Garcia says he is owed $22,000 in overtime pay and has complained to the California labor department. Mr. Garcia is shown with his son Diego, 13; wife, Rosario; daughter, Adela, 4, and son Josue, 5.”

If Diego is indeed Isaias’s son, then Isaias became a father when he was 11 years old. Not scientifically impossible, but it certainly strains credulity. Could Diego be a neighbor? A nephew? Isaias’s younger brother? For the answer, I suggested keeping an eye on tomorrow’s corrections.


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