I recently saw this update on America’s Voice and thought to myself, “finally!” I was getting sick and tired of hearing Americans saying that illegal immigrants are taking their jobs. Are illegal immigrants really taking our jobs and do Americans really want to take on these jobs that include farm work? In the video, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert volunteers to be the fourth American to become a farm worker through the United Farm Workers of America’s “Take Our Jobs” campaign. This campaign is the United Farm Workers’ creative challenge to Americans of all stripes to head out to the fields and try their hands at picking fruit, if they want their danged jobs back so badly. The Take Our Jobs campaign has received tons of media attention for the way it directly challenges the oft-repeated claim that immigrants are simply “taking American jobs” instead of contributing to and strengthening our economy and our food security. The following are statements from TakeOurJobs.org:
There are two issues facing our nation–high unemployment and undocumented people in the workforce–that many Americans believe are related.
Missing from the debate on both issues is an honest recognition that the food we all eat – at home, in restaurants and workplace cafeterias (including those in the Capitol) – comes to us from the labor of undocumented farm workers.
Agriculture in the United States is dependent on an immigrant workforce. Three-quarters of all crop workers working in American agriculture were born outside the United States. According to government statistics, since the late 1990s, at least 50% of the crop workers have not been authorized to work legally in the United States.
We are a nation in denial about our food supply. As a result the UFW has initiated the “Take Our Jobs” campaign.
Farm workers are ready to welcome citizens and legal residents who wish to replace them in the field. We will use our knowledge and staff to help connect the unemployed with farm employers. Just fill out the form to the right and continue on to the request for job application.
It is also important to note that Chavez did not start the United Farmers Association. He was persuaded by Filipino farmers to join them in the demand for better wages. Filipino farm workers staged the first successful union asparagus protest. They were so successful that the companies they were protesting agreed to all their demands. However, our stories didn’t get heard and Chavez is credited for this success. For more information on the Filipino farm workers hard work please go to littlemanila.org or purchase Little Manila: Filipinos in California’s Heartland in order to have a broader audience to get this message across.