Stephen Colbert testifies before Congress on ag jobs bill

In perhaps the first major celebrity-wrought attention to farm workers, Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert testified before Congress on the ag jobs bill. According to Talking Points Memo:

Colbert was testifying on behalf of the United Farm Workers Union, which is pushing an agriculture jobs bill to give illegal immigrant farm workers a path to citizenship. The UFW started a program called “Take Our Jobs,” with the goal of drawing attention to the large immigrant population that comprises America’s farming work force. Primarily, the UFW argues, this is because Americans don’t want those types of jobs, and the program is a tongue-in-cheek way of drawing attention to this. Colbert is one of 16 people to take up the UFW’s offer for Americans to literally “take the jobs” of immigrants.

Here’s the video of his opening statement:

And Colbert taking questions:

Although it was delivered in character, what Colbert said was not classic comedy, nor was it meant to be.

As we have around eight garden beds at our house, I have some idea of what the farm workers go through. Thing is, when I get hot, or my back aches or my legs and feet are tired, I can sit down and take a break. I usually have Johnny Cash playing while I’m working. (Look at them beans! they must be two feet long!) But that’s a luxury. All my gardens, while we rely on them for ultra-fresh food, are luxuries compared to the back-and-knee breaking work that the field workers do. Or did. I didn’t know that there was idle farmland due to lack of workers. And it’s thought by some that all these migrant workers are taking jobs?

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.