The Alabama immigration law took a beating last night from no less an authority than Stephen Colbert, the show’s host who famously spent a day laboring on a farm in upstate New York last year, then testified before Congress about his experience.
“It is really, really hard,” he told Congress at the time. “’When you’re picking beans, you have to spend all day bending over. It turns out—and I did not know this—most soil is at the ground level…This brief experience gave me some small understanding why so few Americans are clamoring to begin an exciting career as seasonal migrant fieldworker.”
You can watch the Colbert segment below:
Colbert’s testimony lifting up the hard work of laborers and lampooning those who believe that immigrants contribute nothing to the economy was ill-received by some who thought he showed disrespect for Congress’ decorum. But Colbert got the last laugh yesterday, when he highlighted the current labor shortage in Alabama and Georgia following immigration crackdowns that have driven out many immigrant farmworkers.
“I TOLD YOU SO!” Colbert said on a giant-drop down banner, skewering the idea—promoted by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), among others—that unemployed white Americans would step in to take the farmworker jobs if only the immigrants could be made to leave. In reality, so few Americans have expressed any desire for these farm jobs, and so many farmers have been watching their unpicked crops rot, that plans have had to be put in place to truck prison inmates out to the fields. And even then, the inmates quickly quit.
“Turns out,” Colbert said in last night’s segment, “Americans who’ve chosen a life of crime don’t have quite the same work ethic as Guatemalans who’ve walked through 500 miles of desert to feed their children.”