What follows is a rush transcript of highlight’s from Stephen Colbert’s congressional testimony:
–Congresswoman Lofgren asked me to share my vast experience spending one day as a migrant farm worker.
–I am happy to use my celebrity to draw attention to this important, complicated issue, and I certainly hope that my star power can bump this hearing all the way up to CSPAN 1.
–America’s farms are presently far too dependent on immigrant labor to pick our fruits and vegetables. Now the obvious answer is for all of us to stop eating fruits and vegetables.
–Unfortunately, my gastroenterologist Dr. Ikener has informed me in no uncertain terms that there are [consequences]
–As evidence, I would like to insert a video of my colonoscopy into the congressional record.
–This is America, I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan and served by a Venezuelan …
–My great grandfather did not travel across 4,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean to see this country overrun by immigrants. He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland. I don’t know if that’s true, I’d like to have that stricken from the record.
–I reject this idea that farm work is among the semi-mythical jobs that Americans won’t do. Really? No Americans? I did. As part of my ongoing series: Stephen Colbert’s fallback position, where I try other jobs and realize that mine is way better.
–I participated in the UFW’s Take Our Jobs campaign, one of only 16 people in America to take up the challenge, though that number may increase in the near future, as I understand many Democrats may be looking for work come November.
–After working with these men and women, picking beans, packing corn, for hours on end, side-by-side, in the unforgiving sun, I have to say, and I do mean this sincerely: please don’t make me do this again. It is really, really, hard. [feigns tearing up]. For one thing, 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 ground level. If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we make the earth waist high? Come on? Where is the funding?
–I’m a free market guy. Normally I would leave this to the invisible hand of the market …. [but] apparently, even the invisible hand doesn’t want to pick beans.
–I’m not in favor of the government doing anything. But I’ve got to wonder, why isn’t the government doing anything?
–Maybe this ag jobs bill would help. I don’t know. Like most members of Congress, I haven’t read it.
–Maybe the easier answer is just to have scientists develop vegetables that pick themselves.
–At this point [after working in the fields], I break into a cold sweat at the sight of a salad bar.
–I trust that following my testimony, both sides will work together on this issue in the best interest of the American people, as you always do.
–I’m now prepared to take questions and or pose for pictures with grandchildren. I yield the balance of my time, USA, number one.