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Colbert wades into immigration debate

July 6, 2010 |  5:31 pm

Fights over undocumented immigrants have made headlines from Washington, D.C., to Arizona in recent months. The issue was a central part of the California Republican gubernatorial campaign, but now it's going big time. The fight over illegal immigration is coming to the Colbert Report.

Colbert will host United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez on Thursday to discuss the UFW's new campaign urging unemployed Americans to try their hand at working the fields.

In an effort to stop anti-immigrant sentiment as the nation faces high unemployment, the UFW launched a new website inviting anyone looking for work to do the physical labor often done by undocumented immigrants -- picking grapes or strawberries.

There are about 2 million farm workers nationwide, according to Department of Labor estimates. UFW spokeswoman Maria Machuca estimates as many as 80% of those workers are undocumented.

"A lot of people blame undocumented farm workers for taking jobs away from American citizens. These jobs are there. If you really want them, there they are."

Machuca says the site has placed three people in actual jobs in the fields so far.

-- Anthony York