Colbert tells Congress farm work 'really hard'
Friday, September 24, 2021 5:25 PM

Related Stories

(Source: Associated Press/AP Online)By SUZANNE GAMBOA

WASHINGTON - Taking his blowhard comedy act to Congress, Stephen Colbert told lawmakers that a day picking beans alongside illegal immigrants convinced him that farm work is "really, really hard."

"It turns out - and I did not know this - most soil is at ground level," Colbert testified Friday. Also, "It was hotter than I like to be."

Still, Colbert expressed befuddlement that more Americans aren't clamoring to "begin an exciting career" in the fields and instead are leaving the low-paid work to illegal immigrants.

Staying in character as a Comedy Central news commentator, Colbert offered a House hearing his "vast" knowledge, drawn from spending a single day on a New York farm as a guest of the United Farm Workers.

The union launched its "Take Our Jobs" campaign to back up its claim that few Americans would do the work of farm laborers, the vast majority of whom are in the U.S. illegally. Only seven people accepted the jobs, the union said.

Colbert pleaded with lawmakers to do something about the farm labor issue because "I am not going back out there."

A House bill that creates a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants has been filed and another is being drafted in the Senate but Congress is due to recess soon to focus on fall elections. The bills, or pieces of them, could come up in a lame-duck session after the November balloting.

As the immigration subcommittee hearing began, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers praised Colbert for drawing a roomful of onlookers and photographers. Then he asked the comedian to leave the room - and to leave the job of testifying to the expert witnesses, including Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez.

"You run your show, we run the committee," said Conyers, D-Mich.

There was some grumbling from lawmakers about Colbert testifying in character. It's not unusual for actors to appear at hearings, but they're normally speaking as themselves. Congress has heard testimony from the Sesame Street puppet Elmo, however.

Colbert said he was there at the invitation of subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif. And Conyers later gave him the go-ahead, apparently hoping Colbert's performance would counter the testimony of a political science professor who said illegal immigrants were competing with black and Hispanic citizens for jobs.

Colbert wiped his brow and launched into his mock right-wing schtick, demanding that lawmakers do something about the agriculture industry's dependence on immigrant labor.

"I'm not a fan of the government doing anything," Colbert insisted. "But I've got to ask, Why isn't the government doing anything?"

Colbert's humor drew guffaws from the audience and several Democrats on the subcommittee. But most of the Republicans sat stone-faced.

"Maybe we should be spending less time watching Comedy Central and more time considering all the real jobs that are out there," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

At the close of the hearing, Colbert dropped his TV persona and turned serious, saying he was using his celebrity to bring attention to farm labor because "these seem to be the least of my brothers."

"Right now migrant workers suffer and have no rights," Colbert said.


AP writer Jim Abrams contributed to this report.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.



Symbol :


Market news:

  • Pryor's TD passes give Tressel No. 100, 38-10 Oct 09, 2021 06:07 PM

    • COLUMBUS, Ohio - Even though he says he never looks back, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel couldn't help but reflect on his 100th victory with the Buckeyes.
    • "It's exciting every time you win," he said after Terrelle Pryor 's three touchdown passes and 334 yards led the second-ranked Buckeyes to a 38-10 victory over Indiana on Saturday.
    • After the game, Tressel was congratulated by athletic director Gene Smith.
      • Finance leaders fail to resolve currency dispute Oct 09, 2021 06:03 PM

        • WASHINGTON - Global finance leaders failed Saturday to resolve deep differences that threaten the outbreak of a full-blown currency war.
        • The communique essentially papered-over sharp differences on currency policies between China and the United States.
        • American manufacturers contend the Chinese yuan is undervalued by as much as 40 percent and this has cost millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs by making Chinese goods cheaper in the United States and U.S. products more expensive in China.
          • Suicide surge: Schools confront anti-gay bullying Oct 09, 2021 05:36 PM

            • NEW YORK - A spate of teen suicides linked to anti-gay harassment is prompting school officials nationwide to rethink their efforts against bullying - and in the process, risk entanglement in a bitter ideological debate.
            • The conflict: Gay-rights supporters insist that any effective anti-bullying program must include specific components addressing harassment of gay youth.
            • Witness the hate mail - from the left and right - directed at Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin School District while it reviews its anti-bullying strategies in the aftermath of a gay student's suicide.
              • Vt. police: Women had 77 cats living in 2 cars Oct 09, 2021 05:20 PM

                • BENNINGTON, Vt. - Two women have been cited for animal cruelty in Vermont after police found 77 cats living in two cars.
                • Police say one of the cats was found dead in the trunk of one of the cars Friday.
                • Plates of food were inside and some of the cats had fecal matter matted to their fur.
                  • Chile's trapped miners cheer as drill punches in Oct 09, 2021 04:59 PM

                    • SAN JOSE MINE, Chile - Chile's trapped miners cheered and embraced each other Saturday as a drill punched into their underground chamber, opening a way out with a spray of rock and dust from the collapsed mine where they have been stuck for an agonizing 66 days.
                    • Family members chanted and waved flags, then everyone braced for the next challenge: Rescuers must decide whether it's riskier to pull the 33 miners directly up through unreinforced rock, or to insert tons of heavy steel pipe into the curved shaft in an attempt to protect them.
                    • "We still haven't rescued anybody," Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said.

                      More news


    Recent Estimates

AnalystFirm NameSymbolEPS Estimate
alfred bloomingdaleXXXXX RFMD$0.14
r morriseyXXXXX RFMD$0.14
johnorganization MU$0.40
KyprosIndividual AA$0.06
gofasterstripesMr Lak CTXS$0.25