Stephen Colbert delivers his prepared remarks earlier today in a House hearing on immigration reform, reminding the assembled Congressmen that his grandpa didn't sail across four thousand miles of the Atlantic Ocean to live in a country that would be overrun by immigrants:
(Partial transcript below the fold.)
Much of Colbert's commentary focused on his recent attempt to spend a day in the shoes of a migrant farmworker...a challenge that was so difficult it literally brought him to tears during his testimony. Here he is from last night's program showing just how hard the work really is:
ABC notes that Colbert stayed in character throughout questioning -- and even was thanked by a Republican lawmaker for supporting their new Pledge to America:
Colbert's sarcasm continued when he was questioned by lawmakers. Asked by the panel's ranking Republican, Lamar Smith of Texas, how many workers joined him during his day on the New York farm, Colbert replied, "I didn't take a count. I'm not good at math." When Smith asked how many of them were illegal, Colbert replied, "I didn't ask them for their papers, although I had a strong urge to."
Smith asked Colbert if that one day on the farm made him an expert. Colbert replied, "I believe one day of me studying anything makes me an expert."
And asked if he endorsed GOP policies, Colbert said, "I endorse all Republican policies without question," prompting Smith to thank Colbert for his endorsement of the Republicans' just-unveiled Pledge to America.
Partial transcript (via Think Progress):
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 over 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. [...]
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 justs stands to reason to me 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.