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Take Our Jobs, Please!

Here at Political Irony, we firmly believe that comedy is the best cure for political problems (well, at the very least it helps you laugh at them). So we were very happy to see Stephen Colbert join with the United Farm Workers of America in a new website: The website invites anyone who is unemployed — especially Washington pundits or anti-immigration activists — to sign up for an agriculture job. If you want a farm job, the site will even find an experienced field hand to help train you, and will connect you to farms that are hiring.

The real question is, how many unemployed Americans will take these backbreaking, dangerous, low-paying jobs. After all, 75% of all farm workers were born in another country, and more than 50% of them are here illegally (according to the Labor Department).

To me, the best part of the website is that the next time you hear someone complaining about how an illegal immigrant has taken his job, you can now tell him where to go.



  1. Peter wrote:

    I’m not sure I agree with this one.

    First, comedians are always entertaining. But given a choice between reality or a good punch line, a comedian will choose the good punch line. This isn’t a bad thing–it’s what makes them so entertaining. But public policy actually requires thinking things through–not cute sound bites for the media, which is what this stunt is about.

    Second, I’m amused how you label these jobs as “backbreaking, dangerous, and low paying.” Nope, I wouldn’t take a job with that description and I doubt you would either. So perhaps the question we should be asking is why are we supporting people who are creating backbreaking, dangerous, low paying jobs?

    I have no doubts that if we can create a robot that can explore Mars, we can create a robot that can pick lettuce. The problem is that buying those robots costs money. Of course, it pays for itself in the long run, but it’s cheaper “right now” if I just keep abusing foreign workers.

    Third, the message here is that Americans won’t take such jobs so we need to import a “slave labor” class who we can pay cheap and we don’t have to care about them. “Well, yeah, these poor people suffer doing backbreaking, dangerous, low paying work, but hey! At least my lettuce is cheap! That’s what’s important–my convenience!”

    Is that really the message you want give out?

    Fourth, imagine what would happen if we did get rid of the 50% who are here illegally. At that point, agribusiness might have Washington make some adjustments to the H-2A Visa program so that these people could actually be here legally.

    You hear from lots of people in this argument that they have no problems with “immigrants”, they have a problem with “illegal.” Well, if you expand the H-2A program, they’d actually be here legally. Then what excuse would the “I’m not racist” crowd come up with?

    I enjoy Stephen Colbert and think he’s entertaining. The problem here is that he’s taking a very complex issue and making light of it. He’s not helping solve the problem, he’s not really even bringing an unknown problem to the American people. All he’s doing is lending his publicity for a laugh.

    I think it’s kind of sad.

    Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Permalink
  2. Falkelord wrote:

    Peter, I just wanted to throw this in before I head off to bed. The reason they’re labeled as “backbreaking, dangerous, and low-paying” is because they are, in fact, backbreaking, dangerous, and low-paying. Many farm workers risk heat stroke while picking grapes for minimum wage per hour in California, but they take the jobs because a) they require no documentation and b) as such that’s the only job they can afford. They can’t get better.

    Meanwhile, the guy who got laid off from working a 9-5 at a supply shipping firm is not going to go from a cushy office job to a manual labor job because that’s how we as a nation are brought up: we don’t have to do that, we’re spoiled. The real fact of the matter is he will probably get government assistance instead of actually getting out there and finding SOME form of employment, regardless of if it’s a step below his comfort zone.

    I agree that is a great idea as far as jokes go, but it’s a nice step in the way of seriousness: if people would stop being so goddamn lazy and step out of their comfort zone for jobs instead of complaining that immigrants are taking all of their jobs, I think we’d be a lot better off.

    Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    Peter, I also want to point out that it is an advantage to employers to have illegal employees. If an employee is illegal, he won’t dare complain about not being paid minimum wage, or if a farm’s safety equipment is not working properly, or any number of other things. They are the perfect, docile, no-questions-asked employees.

    If, on the other hand, they came in on an actual work visa, then their employers might actually have to follow all the US labor laws. And food prices would definitely go up, as would food imports from countries that have lax labor laws and low wages.

    But as to whether or not you “agree with this one” the point is that we currently blame the illegal immigrants for this problem, which is merely the easy, racist thing to do.

    Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

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  1. One Woman's Opinion on Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 5:31 am

    Take Our Jobs…

    I can’t express this better, so I’m copying this in whole from Political Irony: Take Our Jobs, Please! Here at Political Irony, we firmly be….