“Immigration is a system that brought you me!” John Oliver reminded his viewers on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, but he promised it won’t happen again.
As the midterm elections approach, President Donald Trump has put immigration back in the spotlight, and pledged to send U.S. troops to the southern border because, as Oliver described it, “Young strong men were coming for our women.”
“That’s such old-timey racism that I’m genuinely amazed that it doesn’t turn black and white while he talks like Pleasantville in reverse,” Oliver said.
Instead of focusing on the soldiers, Oliver opted to look back at something Trump’s administration previously did—the family separation policy, which led to nearly 2,000 children being taken from their parents in a six-week period.
The policy, which even Trump called “so sad,” was even more “malicious and incompetent” than we knew, according to Oliver. He emphasized that government entities that were responsible for tracking and reuniting the children with their parents were “incomplete and inconsistent” and “vulnerable to human error.”
“You shouldn’t be able to lose children in a government system as easily as in a Chuck E. Cheese ball pit,” he said. According to Oliver, the government has admitted 220 children have yet to be reunited with their families. Just two weeks ago they “found 14 more” children who were missing and apparently no one in the government was aware. As Oliver notes, when 12 boys were stuck in a cave in Thailand, there were live cameras and Elon Musk “was sending submersibles and calling rescuers pedophiles.” While Oliver added that he was not advocating for a repeat of that scenario, he would like people to pay attention.
According to Oliver, the answer as to how the U.S. implemented this separations policy was “incompetently and cruelly,” and as for the why, he has an idea. Since the Trump administration claims that family separation was not implemented as a deterrent for immigration, Oliver has a different theory: “It’s a hard right turn toward demonizing immigration that some might call racist and some might be wrong about.”
According to Oliver, while immigrants are less likely to commit crimes once they cross a border, the Trump administration has characterized immigrants as “violent gang members, known criminals, and people from the Middle East.” Oliver suggested that the administration should just add to the list other things they hate, for instance “Planned Parenthood, gays who want wedding cakes, Black Santa, and a 30-foot Nancy Pelosi.”
As Trump orders troops to the border, he has also suggested he may re-implement the family separation policy. However, Oliver pointed out that while surrounding the border with “randomly firing flamethrowers and snakes that had been trained to stand up whenever anyone approached” might work to deter immigration, “we don’t do things like that because that’s not supposed to be who we f—- are.”