HBO host John Oliver took President Donald Trump’s administration to task for its immigration policies during Sunday night’s episode of “Last Week Tonight,” specifically focusing on the lasting effects that the administration’s now-reversed family separation policies have had on asylum seekers.
“If the president really wanted to make Tuesday’s election about him and about immigration, then fine, let’s make it about that,” Oliver said. “Because family separation is perhaps the most emblematic moment of his presidency so far. It was cruel, sloppy, needless, racist, and ultimately exactly what we should’ve expected.”
On an evening that saw a Trump ad that CNN deemed too racist to air run during the Patriots-Packers game on NBC, Oliver said that, rather than give in to “old-timey racism” regarding a caravan that is hundreds of miles away from the U.S. border, voters should consider the Trump administration’s family separation policies.
To punctuate his point, Oliver showed a clip of Trump discussing a hypothetical “rough, tough criminal” caught crossing the border, saying that there was “zero” chance that he would show up to subsequent court appearances. Oliver, meanwhile, cited a study that showed that 96 percent of family members applying for asylum attended all of their immigration court hearings.
“If they’d already paid the price for their crime, and there were other, better ways to ensure that they showed up for court, why the everlasting f*** did we really do this?” Oliver asked, referring to the family separation policy. “Well, I would argue that this is the logical result of a general hard-right turn toward demonizing immigrants for political advantage in a way that some might call racist and others would be wrong about.”