Saturday, July 24, 2010

Jobless citizens not yet flocking to replace immigrant farm workers

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Arturo Rodriguez
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert helped kick off of the national "Take Our Jobs" campaign earlier this month by inviting United Farm Workers President Arturo S. Rodriguez onto "The Colbert Report." The "Take Our Jobs" movement purports to recruit U.S. citizens and legal residents to fill jobs that frequently go to tens of thousands of undocumented farm workers.

Organizers invited Michigan lawmakers to pick blueberries today as part of the campaign. But only two Michigan politicians accepted: State Rep. Robert Dean, and House candidate Frederick Fleischman.

Those critical of undocumented immigrants frequently cite their concern that immigrants "take jobs away from Americans." The "Take Our Jobs" campaign encourages Americans--particularly unemployed citizens--to apply for farm worker jobs, using a convenient internet form on http://www.takeourjobs.org/.

Despite the gloomy U.S. job market with an unemployment rate of 9.5% and 14.6 million people without jobs, there have been few takers for the fieldworker positions. Perhaps this is because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies agricultural work as one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the nation.

Immigration Reform

Campaign organizers are approaching legislators in hopes of getting much needed immigration reform passed. The drive spotlights the issue of immigrant laborers, the backbone of the country's agricultural economy.

The farm worker population of the United States is overwhelmingly immigrant, with about 85 percent of workers born outside of the United States. Today, the vast majority of farm workers are unauthorized, according to government statistics.

Due to the illegal immigration status of these workers, domestic agriculture could be crippled without comprehensive immigration reform, leading to more jobs moving off shore.

The UFW has negotiated the AgJobs bill with the agricultural industry that would give undocumented farm workers presently here the right to earn legal status by continuing to work in agriculture. Senators Diane Feinstein (D-Ca.) and Richard Lugar (R-In.) are the principal co-authors in the Senate and U.S. Reps. Adam Putnam (R-Fa.) and Howard Berman (D-Ca.) are chief sponsors in the House.


12 comments:

Fran said...

Brava BE! Excellent post and videos.

I really like how Colbert said undocumented immigrants, not illegal. He is good.

Border Explorer said...

Fran, thanks a million for reading, commenting, and passing this along on Facebook. I'm already getting the "Fran-I-Am Bump" :-)[ironic: Colbert originated the expression "Colbert Bump" I copied!). Many thanks for your good heart! Mwah!

Libby said...

Thanks for sharing Billie. I hadn't heard about this.

claire said...

Fabulous, Billie!

claire said...

Fabulous, Billie! Bravo! I hope this gets covered widely...

Border Explorer said...

I appreciate your visits/comments, Libby and Claire! And thanks, Claire, for passing on the link, too. I too hope that this movement gets wide coverage. The U.S. still has tens of thousands of people "enslaved" for the servitude of our agri-plantations.

Dusty said...

Perhaps this is because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies agricultural work as one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the nation. We have one 'recorded' death already from heat stoke in the fields..and they are..cough..investigating it . NO ONE is EVER held responsible for the death of a farm worker here in the San Joaquin valley...NO ONE!

All labor laws have exceptions for farm workers...they are NEVER given the same protections as the rest of the US workers..its fucking criminal.

Thank you for this writeup Billie...You know I love you sista!

Spadoman said...

Si Se Puede!

Border Explorer said...

xoxo to you both!

Mnmom said...

This is brilliant! I'm linking to my FB page.

Border Explorer said...

Thanks so much. Hey, I didn't know you're on FB. Uh oh: you're busted...just kidding ;-)

Mnmom said...

I'm a friend of Fran's. Find me through her!!!