Tag Archives: immigration system

Coming to a Farm Near You: Steven Colbert?

That’s right, you heard me. Stephen Colbert has accepted the United Farm Workers’ creative challenge to Americans of all stripes to head out to the fields and try their hands at picking fruit, if they want their danged jobs back so badly.

The campaign details are over at TakeOurJobs.org, where would-be farmworkers get matched with struggling growers and immigrant trainers.

Watch Colbert’s segment and see UFW’s Arturo Rodriguez explain what the campaign is all about, as well as how to say “Yes We Can-wich” in Spanish. (You won’t want to miss that).

The Take Our Jobs campaign has received tons of media attention for the way it directly challenges the oft-repeated claim that immigrants are simply “taking American jobs” instead of contributing to and strengthening our economy and our food security.

A couple recent headlines: Colbert teams up with  UFW over immigration (AP), Farmers Tackle  Immigration Issues (Miriam Jordan, Wall Street Journal), Farmworkers to Colbert: Immigration worries? Work in fields (Dylan Smith, Tucson Sentinel).

It’s even spawned DIY-videos and tales of bloggers (like The Unapologetic Mexican) and journalists (like Teresa Puente) heading out to the fields to take on anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The Tucson Sentinel’s Dylan Smith writes:  

The “Take Our Jobs” site asks interested parties to supply their name and area code to streamline the hiring process. It cautions, however, that “duties may include tilling the soil, transplanting, weeding, thinning, picking, cutting, sorting & packing of harvested produce. May set up & operate irrigation equip. Work is performed outside in all  weather conditions (Summertime 90+ degree weather) & is physically  demanding requiring workers to bend, stoop, lift & carry up to 50  lbs on a regular basis.”

According to Colbert, however, the excruciating summer heat and difficult conditions of farm work are no big deal:

“It was over 100 degrees this entire week  here. I did my show 22 minutes a night.”

Smith concludes:

“Somehow, undocumented workers are getting as much blame for our economic troubles as Wall Street, but missing from the immigration debate is an honest recognition that the food we all eat at home, in restaurants and work-place cafeterias, including those in the Capitol, comes to us from the labor of undocumented workers,” Rodriguez told the Tribune. “According to the federal government, more than 50 percent of the  workers laboring are undocumented.”

We are not only a nation “in denial about our food supply,” as Rodriguez has famously quipped, but a nation in denial about who’s to blame for our current economic crisis, aside from vulnerable scapegoats. This has led us to set aside common-sense solutions to fixing our broken immigration system and pursue radical, dangerous ones, like Arizona’s SB 1070, which law  enforcement says destroy community safety and shift the focus away from fighting crime.

More to the point, though, how do I get a front-row ticket to see Colbert struggling in the fields? Can’t wait for part 2 of the Take Our Jobs challenge.

Note: Cross-posted at America’s Voice.