Brow Beat

A Furious John Oliver Refuses to Let Family Separation Be Forgotten Ahead of the Election

Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, Donald Trump is doubling down on his anti-immigration rhetoric by threatening a caravan of Central American migrants with military retaliation and running an ad so racist that CNN refused to air it. He has also promised to end birthright citizenship using an executive order, which may very well be an empty threat. “It’s hard to know what the president will or even can do,” noted John Oliver on Sunday night. But if Trump wants to make this election about immigration, the Last Week Tonight host is happy to oblige, by looking at “the most emblematic moment” of the presidency so far: family separation.


Oliver, energized and at one point seemingly on the verge of tears, looks at how the administration has carried out family separation and its devastating effects on children and parents. But he’s at his most emotional when discussing why the administration has carried it out in the first place. “If you watch enough of those ads, you realize it’s not that they don’t want immigrants to come here because they’re criminals. It’s that they’re calling them criminals because they don’t want them to come here,” he said.

He concluded with speech about the policy that should ring in the ears of every voter who heads to the polls on Tuesday. “It was cruel, sloppy, needless, racist, and ultimately, exactly what we should have expected,” said Oliver. “And I would argue the biggest threat to our status as ‘the greatest nation on earth’ is not a caravan a thousand miles south of us. It’s whoever thinks that doing this is an acceptable fucking response.”