Stephen Colbert Addresses Congress About Immigrant Farm Workers [video]

Published on September 28th, 2010 | by

In case you haven’t heard, comedian Stephen Colbert testified before Congress on Friday… and it was awesome! He was invited by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) to speak about immigration policy during a hearing of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship and Border Security. Why did she ask Stephen Colbert to testify? Great question.

According to Colbert he was invited to speak because of his “vast experience spending one day as a migrant farm worker,” and he’d hope his “star power could bump this hearing all the way up to C-SPAN 1”. Mr. Colbert was part of the United Farm Workers (UFW) campaign “Take Our Jobs” calling on unemployed Americans to take jobs in the agriculture sector.

UFW President Arturo Rodriguez told Congress that his website received about 3 million hits after the campaign was announced. Approximately, 86oo people of that 3 million were serious about applying for a job but only seven applicants were documented as working in the fields. Seven Americans out of 8600 people wanted to work as farm laborers.

Of course, certain members of Congress and Fox News lambasted Colbert calling his testimony a “waste of time” and an “embarrassment.” But these critics failed to realize that Colbert was making an important point using his greatest gift… comedy. This issue has received much more publicity because of Colbert’s wit and talent. Even Jon Stewart jumped on the bandwagon defending Colbert’s testimony and mocking Congress and Fox News on The Daily Show.

In the end, Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Calif.) asked Colbert directly, “you could work on so many issues… why are you interested in this issue?”

His response,

“I like talking about people who don’t have any power, and they seem to be one of the least powerful people in the United States… the 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. It’s an interesting contradiction to me.”

For a comedian, it sounds like Stephen Colbert gets it.

You can see the entire hearing on C-SPAN. What do you think of Colbert’s testimony before Congress?

Image Credit: JND90745 via Flickr under a CC license


About the Author

With more than 10 years experience working for a major Fortune 500 company, Cindy specializes in socially and environmentally responsible business strategies. She has developed successful corporate communications and stakeholder engagement strategies on contentious sustainability issues and has worked with a number of NGOs and activist organizations on how to effectively partner with multinational companies. Cindy frequently writes about topics ranging from what is corporate social responsibility to sustainable supply chain and measuring a company's environmental impact. She believes business plays a vital role in the health of our communities and our planet.