"Good Morning. My name is Stephen Colbert, and I am an American Citizen. It is an honor and a privilege to be here today.
Congresswoman Lofgren asked me to share my vast experience spending one day as a migrant farm worker.
I am happy to use my celebrity to draw attention to this important, complicated issue, and I certainly hope that my star power can bump this hearing all the way up to CSPAN 1.
As you heard this morning, America’s farms are presently far too dependent on immigrant labor to pick our fruits and vegetables. Now the obvious answer is for all of us to stop eating fruits and vegetables. And, if you look at the recent obesity statistics, you'll see that many Americans have already started.
Unfortunately, my gastroenterologist Dr. Ikener has informed me in no uncertain terms that there are a necessary source of roughage. As evidence, I would like to insert a video of my colonoscopy into the congressional record.
Now we all know there is a long tradition of great nations importing foreign workers to do their farm work. After all, it was the ancient Israelites who built the first food pyramids. But this is America. I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan and served by a Venezuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian.
Because my great grandfather did not travel across 4,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean to see this country overrun by immigrants. He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland. That's the rumor, I don’t know if that’s true, I’d like to have that stricken from the record.
So, we do not want immigrants doing this labor, and I agree with Congressman King, we must secure our borders. Of course, I am sure Arturo Rodriguez is saying "Who then will pick our crops, Stephen?".
First of all, Arturo, dont interrupt me when I am talking, that's rude. Second, I reject this idea that farm work is among the semi-mythical jobs that Americans won’t do. Really? No Americans? I did. As part of my ongoing series: Stephen Colbert’s fallback position, where I try other jobs and realize that mine is way better.
I participated in the UFW’s Take Our Jobs campaign, one of only 16 people in America to take up the challenge, though that number may increase in the near future, as I understand many Democrats may be looking for work come November.
Now I'll admit, I started my workday with a preconceived notions of immigrant labor, but after working with these men and women, picking beans, packing corn, for hours on end, side-by-side, in the unforgiving sun, I have to say, and I do mean this sincerely: please don’t make me do this again. It is really, really, hard. [tearing up]. For one thing, when you’re picking beans you have to spend all day bending over. It turns out — and I did not know this — most soil is at ground level. If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we make the earth waist high? Come on? Where is the funding?
This brief experience gave me some small understanding of why so few Americans are clamoring to begin an exciting career as seasonal migrant field worker. So what’s the answer? I’m a free market guy. Normally I would leave this to the invisible hand of the market, but the invisible hand of the market has already moved over 84,000 acres of production and over 22,000 farm jobs to Mexico and shut down over a million acres of U.S. farm land due to lack of available labor because apparently even the invisible hand doesn’t want to pick beans.
Now I'm not a fan of the government doing anything. But I've gotta ask, why isn't the government doing anything? Maybe this AgJOBS Bill would help; I don't know. Like most members of Congress, I haven't read it. But maybe we could give more visas to the immigrants, who — let’s face it — will probably be doing these jobs anyway. And this improved legal status might allow legal immigrants recourse if they’re abused. And it just stands to reason to me that if your coworker can’t be exploited, then you’re less likely to be exploited yourself. And that itself might improve pay and working conditions on these farms and eventually Americans may consider taking these jobs again.
Or maybe that’s crazy. Maybe the easier answer is just to have scientists develop vegetables that pick themselves. The genetic engineers over Fruit of the Loom had made great strides in human-fruit hybrids.
The point is we have to do something because I am not going back out there. At this point I break into a cold sweat at the sight of a salad bar. I thank you for your time. Again, it is an honor, a privilege, and a responsibility to be here. I trust that following my testimony both sides will work together on this issue, in the best interest of the American people- as you always do.
I’m now prepared to take your questions and or pose for pictures with grandchildren. I yield the balance of my time, USA, number one."
|The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the greatest of these brothers of mine, you did for me.|
|~ The Holy Bible, Matthew 25:40|
"I like talking about people who don't have any power. And this seemed like one of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work but don't have any rights as a result. And yet, we still invite them to come here and at the same time ask them to leave. And that's an interesting contradiction to me and, you know, "whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers"... These seem like the lest of our brothers right now -- a Lot of people are "least brothers" right now because the economy's so hard and I don't want to take anyone's hardship away from them or diminish it or anything like that -- but migrant workers suffer... and have no rights."
Update: October 26, 2011Edit
Shockingly the new anti-illegal immigrant law passed by Alabama to get rid of their Mexicans worked well. Unfortunately it worked too well and now they have no Mexicans to pick up their produce cheaply. Sure, they tried hiring Real Americans to take their jubs back. But apparently Real Americans didn't want it. Who knew Real Americans are so picky when it comes to labor conditions, scorching temperature, back breaking labor, and awful pay with no benefits. Still, no one saw this coming so no one can be blamed... except there was one person who was able to see the future but no one listened to his wisdom.
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