John Oliver was back on the Trump attack train last night, and he managed to teach us all something in the process. When you think of the border patrol, do you imagine guys with night vision goggles, endlessly carrying out dangerous missions? So does Trump, apparently. However, John Oliver's border patrol segment shows that the job of a border patrol agent is a bit more, well, boring than that.
One part of Trump's border protection plan is to hire an additional 5,000 border patrol agents to police the southern border as quickly as possible, which former Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly said would be done without lowering standards for training and background checks. Oliver points out, however, that the last time the border patrol significantly expanded their ranks, things did not go well, and corners were cut both in terms of training and background checks.
Two of the main areas that were cut were Spanish language and physical training — meaning, as Oliver said, that "the new standards affected agents' ability to talk to the people they caught, and their ability to catch the people they wanted to talk to." Not a great recipe for success, when you're talking about a job that Oliver described as "a mixture between humanitarian work and law enforcement."
Oliver emphasized that the expansion to the force had resulted in an extremely high level of corruption and far too many officers using deadly force when it wasn't necessary. Although they're rewriting the rules now, Oliver said, the new rule regarding use of unnecessary force seems like something that should be pretty obvious. "If you went to a zoo, and there were a giant sign that said 'Please don't finger the armadillos,' you would wonder what the f*ck had happened before that sign went up," Oliver said, spelling things out quite graphically.
Despite the wishes of "President gravy drugs," as Oliver called Trump in a reference to something that the president said about drugs flowing over the border like gravy, many experts contend that the border patrol simply doesn't need the hiring surge that Trump wants. Plus, given the likely relax in hiring standards that would be necessary to fulfill such ambitious goals, the whole plan could end up making the situation much worse. And if they use the same sort of exciting advertising to hire people, Oliver explained, the problem would simply be compounded when agents arrive at the border and realize that their day job is much less Rambo and much more sitting alone in a sweltering desert and waiting for something to happen.
As usual, though, Oliver has a solution — and in this case, it's the ad that the border patrol should use to hire new agents. Sure, there's a bit of excitement and catching drug dealers and smugglers, the ad says — but there's a lot of sitting around and helping desperate migrants into the country. "If you're looking for an exciting, heart-pounding adventure, maybe go skydiving," the ad says, before showing a true picture of what life is like for a border patrol agent: "Just you, the desert, and nothing for miles around." He ends it with a laundry list of what the perfect border patrol agent needs to be — "If you're kind, physically fit, impervious to bribery or boredom, and you want to serve your country by enforcing a controversial and ever-changing set of policies in the most humane way possible, then give us a call."
Surely this isn't everything that President Gravy Drugs imagines — but at least we have Oliver to spell it out for us.