October 26, 2020

John Oliver takes a horrifying look at what Trump has done to legal asylum in America
"We have talked about immigration repeatedly on this show, but tonight we're going to focus on just one narrow area of it, asylum," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "It's the legal process by which people who are fleeing persecution and make it to the U.S. can apply to stay here. And asylum-seekers are a group that, in theory, everyone should be able to support. They are the literal 'huddled masses yearning to breathe free.'" President Trump is "famously not a fan," Oliver said, and "the Trump administration's attack on asylum has been focused, dedicated, and deeply resourceful. And I know that those aren't adjectives you're used to associating with this administration, but in this one area, they've been truly disciplined about being truly evil. So tonight let's talk about out asylum system, how it's supposed to work, and just a few of the key ways that this administration has undermined it." "The asylum process has never been easy, but this administration has made it absolute hell," Oliver said. "Their policy of family separation caused widespread outrage, but they have done so much more than that." He took a closer look at three tactics, ranging from cruel and callous — "it's pretty bleak when drug cartels have a more efficient system for keeping track of asylum seekers than the U.S. government" — to brutally opportunistic. For example, the Trump Administration invoked a public health power, Title 42, to not just "shut down the border to virtually all migrants" but also expel asylum-seekers who made it into the country with zero due process, Oliver said. Stephen Miller, Trump's immigration architect, reportedly tried to use this public health tool twice last year alone before Trump forced the CDC to invoke it during the COVID-19 pandemic. "And you can kind of see why this appeals so much to Miller, because invoking Title 42 has basically created a shadow deportation system that moves quickly and is accountable to no one," he said, and they've used it to summarily expel nearly 200,000 people since March. The Trump administration "has effectively taken an asylum system that was already imperfect and shattered it," Oliver said, and "they're now trying to make this damage permanent." There's one thing people can do, he added, and while his report is likely upsetting for anyone who cares about humans (and sprinkled with NSFW expletives), Oliver does end with a dark joke.

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