“Props to Jen Psaki there, only a few months into the job and she’s already waiving away concerns about stranded refugees with the ease of a Spirit Airlines gate agent letting you know your flight’s delayed,” Oliver said of the White House press secretary.
John Oliver went after President Joe Biden on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight over his failure to keep his promises related to the United States Refugee Admissions Program.
The Refugee Admissions Program is intended to help people from other countries who are fleeing persecution and have applied for resettlement in the United States.
“The U.S. used to be a world leader in how many refugees we accepted, but this fucking guy,” he said, gesturing to a photo of former President Donald Trump, “not only slashed the admissions low down to a historic annual low of 15,000, he also added discriminatory eligibility categories that have blocked many Muslim and African refugees from coming to the U.S.”
Oliver then noted that current President Joe Biden “ran on a platform that included reversing Trump‘s policies” and in February announced he was going to raise the limit on the number of admissions to 62,500 and raise the cap again next year.
And yet, Biden has not yet signed the Presidential Determination that would reverse the rules put into place by Trump, Oliver noted. “It has been hard to get a straight answer from this administration on why,” Oliver added. He then showed clips of journalists pressing current White House press secretary Jen Psaki on why Biden has not signed it, as she gave seemed to evade the question, give unclear answers or claim she had no updates.
“Props to Jen Psaki there, only a few months into the job and she’s already waiving away concerns about stranded refugees with the ease of a Spirit Airlines gate agent letting you know your flight’s delayed: ‘Rest assured, we’re committed to getting you to Orlando eventually. We just can’t tell you where your plane is, why it’s taking so long and what year you might arrive,'” he quipped.
Oliver noted that there are almost 115,000 refugees in various stages of the resettlement process and that more than 35,000 have been already approved for resettlement in the U.S. But as Biden delays signing the determination, “they are still beholden to Trump‘s low admission ceiling and bullshit racist rules,” Oliver said.
In March, more than 700 refugees who were headed to the U.S. had their flights canceled, Oliver pointed out.
“Remember, these are vulnerable people who may have surrendered their belongings or homes in anticipation of leaving the country or who are having to wait in camps,” he said. Or they might see their required security and health checks expire, only to have to start the entire process all over again.
“For Biden, this is actually really simple … he just needs to sign a piece of paper,” Oliver said. “And for a guy who clearly wanted to be the person who ‘restored the soul of America'” — a phrase he’s uttered many times — it is past time for him to look deep into his own, pick up a fucking pen and do the right thing.”