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Devin Nunes' California Dairy Farm Is Actually in Iowa

'Esquire' digs in, finds a lot of paranoia related to undocumented immigrants
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2018 9:35 AM CDT
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., waves as he waits for the doors to close on an elevator on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – One fact seems to emerge in every profile of Devin Nunes, the powerful GOP chair of the House Intelligence Committee and one of President Trump's staunchest defenders: As the familiar story goes, Nunes' family runs a dairy farm in California, and that farming background is central to his very being. But Ryan Lizza at Esquire writes that he has uncovered a "secret" about all this: "The Nunes family dairy of political lore—the one where his brother and parents work—isn't in California. It's in Iowa." The Nunes did have a farm in California's Central Valley—and an uncle is still there—but the congressman's immediate family sold their farm in 2006 and bought another in the small town of Sibley, Iowa. Nunes, however, seems to have gone to great lengths to keep this fact under the radar, writes Lizza. Why? It might have something to do with undocumented immigrants.

Farms in that part of Iowa survive mainly on immigrant labor, and Lizza writes that it's an "open secret" that many of those laborers are in the country illegally and use bogus documents that say otherwise. "Eighty percent of the Latino population out here in northwest Iowa is undocumented,” says one dairy farmer who adopts a don't-look-too-closely attitude at the ID papers presented. Does that mean that Nunes' farm does the same? Not necessarily, but another farmer says it would be "next to impossible" for a farm of that size (43 acres) to have only fully legal workers. That could explain the frosty reception Lizza was given by Nunes' brother, and the rotating white Yukons that seemed to follow him everywhere he went in Sibley. Read the full story. (Read more Longform stories.)

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