John Oliver Backs Syrian Refugees Again & Explains Why Their Vetting Process Doesn't Need Any More Walls
The Paris attacks are still incredibly fresh in people's minds and hearts. But what has since come out of that act of terrorism is a fear of Syrian refugees, and questions about whether these oppressed people should find a home in America. On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would create stricter mandates for accepting refugees, which include the FBI director signing off on every single one who crosses America's border. President Obama has vowed to veto the measure. But those escaping terror in Syria have another champion in their corner. On Sunday's episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver stepped up and backed the Syrian refugees once again, demonstrating that their tough vetting process is hard enough as it is. They don't need more red tape around freedom.
From Donald Trump and Ben Carson calling for a stop to all refugee acceptance, to Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz claiming that only Christians should be allowed, to Roanoke Mayor David Bowers' horrifying reference to Japanese internment camps (which he spoke of admiringly), it's been kind of a shitshow from all sides. The biggest topic of the week has been how the U.S. government screens incoming refugees to ensure none of them have diabolical terrorist plans.
Well, the truth is that the refugee vetting process is incredibly tough. "Look, it is difficult to vet people coming out of a war zone, but it's not like we're just letting anyone in," Oliver said. "We are the United States of America, not Arizona State." (Burn, and jeers.) As a refugee, you have to pass through rigorous tests conducted by the UN Refugee Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, FBI, and the Defense Department, among other checks, like medical screens and cultural orientation classes. "At this point," Oliver asked, "why don't we include a pie-eating contest, a spelling bee, and an evening wear portion?"
There is a small risk in taking in refugees, but the point is that we are equipped to manage it. Cars, peanuts, swimming, and cows each individually contribute to more American deaths than terrorism each year. Just three out of 748,000 refugees since 9/11 have been found to have links with terrorism, and none of them were for a violent offense. And considering France just suffered a horrific terrorist assault but is still keeping its borders open to refugees, America should do the same.
This isn't the first time Oliver has spoken up for Syrian refugees. In September, he blasted European countries' response to the growing refugee crisis. He also made one refugee's dreams come true and reunited EJ and Sami from Days of Our Lives.
Oliver, a man of the Syrian and American people.
Images: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver/HBO