Last week, comedian Steven Colbert caused a stir by testifying before Congress in support of the AgJOBS bill. Colbert’s larger than life persona brought a record number of cameras to the “Protecting America’s Harvest” hearing held by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security. While pundits and bloggers disagree about the appropriateness of Colbert’s appearance, very little is being said about the substance of the bill he went to Washington to support: AgJOBS.
AgJOBS would provide a legal, stable labor supply and help ensure that farmworkers are treated fairly.
The proposal contains two main parts:
- An “earned legalization” program enabling many undocumented farmworkers and H-2A guestworkers to earn a “blue card” temporary immigration status with the possibility of becoming permanent residents of the U.S. by continuing to work in agriculture and by meeting additional requirements; and
- Revisions to the existing H-2A temporary foreign agricultural worker program.
AgJOBS is a bipartisan bill that enjoys broad support in Congress. The AgJOBS compromise was carefully negotiated by the United Farm Workers and major agribusiness employers after years of intense conflict. AgJOBS is endorsed by major labor and management representatives, as well as a broad spectrum of organizations, including Latino community leaders, civil rights organizations, religious groups and farmworkers themselves.
The NC Council of Churches has supported farmworker rights for decades, and our Farmworker Ministry Committee continues to mobilize people of faith in joining this movement. AgJOBS represents a significant step forward for workers. It has been on Congress’ plate for several sessions and, with significant bipartisan and industry support, there is no reason that it can’t move forward now. If you believe that farmworkers should have more rights on the job and should have the opportunity to earn legal immigration status, please contact your Senators and Representative. You can take action in support of AgJOBS here.
- For more background on AgJOBS, click here.
- Click here for a transcript of Colbert’s remarks.
- Click here to read “Colbert’s Reminder: Immigration a Moral Issue” – a CNN Opinion article by Galen Carey, director of government affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals.
Here is the segment from The Colbert Report on Colbert’s day spent as a farmworker:
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Fallback Position – Migrant Worker Pt. 2|
Chris Liu-Beers, Program Associate