Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

John Oliver shows how Trump’s border patrol plans put us on the edge of disaster

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (Screenshot: HBO)

Look, we’ve all had some good, cathartic laughs at the expense of Donald Trump’s fascination with—yet profound misunderstanding of—his dream of a giant Game Of Thrones wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump’s bragged about his fantasy wall’s un-climbable, impregnable perfection—while accidentally conceding that a coil of old clothesline might just defeat its purpose. He’s pondered both the incredible upper body and core strength of dastardly drug dealers able to hurl bales of dope over his not-at-all-childishly conceived structure—before coming up with the brilliant solution of making the wall see-through to prevent head-clonk. He’s taunted those whiny liberals who go on and on about how putting up an actual physical barrier along the entire, nearly 2000-mile border between us and a nation of people of a darker skin tone than the American average is both stupid and really, really racist. Take this, libtards—solar panels! Now how are you gonna complain when you like solar energy? Game, check, and Yahtzee.

Still, the idea that America is literally going to shut itself off from the outside world via a big, strong, “keep me safe from brown people, Daddy” wall comes with even more problems than immature xenophobia and infantile problem-solving skills, as John Oliver demonstrated in his main story on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight. Wall or no wall, actual human people from U.S. Customs and Border Protection have to patrol the border. And that’s a force that has had more than its share of problems with violence, illegality, and corruption, and which, as Oliver lays out, is only going to get more vulnerable. That, despite the fact that Trump—in his pell-mell campaign to stem the tide of both illegal and completely legal immigration (of brown-ish people, almost exclusively)—has ordered the CBP to add some 5,000 more agents in a big, unnecessary rush.


The problem as Oliver explains, is that Trump has also urged a weakening of the already insufficient screening processes that have led to the CBP being what one former head of CBP internal affairs calls “a rate of corruption that far [exceeds] that of any other law enforcement agency” in the country. Oliver shows that, after a 9/11 hiring surge under George W. Bush, fully half of applicants were revealed to be completely unsuitable for service because of issues revealed by lie detector testing after they’d already cleared “the highest level of background check”. (In addition to ties to criminal cartels and unnecessary use of force, Oliver runs down a litany of CBP agent infractions in recent years, including, but not limited to, alleged drunken sex acts at Cirque du Soleil.) Naturally, Trump (and some congressional Republicans), want to fill their quota of cocaine-bundle-ducking wall-walkers by relaxing, and even eliminating, polygraph testing. As Oliver puts it, the CBP is a tough, lonely, often boring job that, nonetheless, requires both quick thinking in the dangerous situations that do occur, and sensitivity in dealing with people—often families—desperately fleeing dangerous political situations in their home countries. Good thing then that CPB has also already relaxed those pesky Spanish language and physical fitness requirements, and shortened its training period. After all, what could possibly go wrong with a hastily assembled, indifferently trained and vetted force of thousands of monolingual, heavily armed people working alone patrolling the most remote areas of a country constantly being whipped into a state of xenophobic paranoia by a hair-trigger-ignorant amateur politician?

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