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Days after Stephen Colbert called the Trump administration’s controversial “zero tolerance” policy “just plain wrong,” the CBS host and other late-night personalities took on the separation of children from the parents of illegal immigrants as it continues to receive growing outrage.
Of the policy shift that was put into action by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Colbert on Monday was quick to take jabs at Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.
“Not everyone in this administration blames this policy on the Democrats. Some say the policy doesn’t exist. Like Secretary of Homeland Security, and definitely not the descendant of immigrants, Kirstjen Nielsen,” the late-night host said of the secretary, who tweeted that there is not a policy in place that separates families at the border.
“Then why are you locking up kids in an abandoned Walmart question mark, exclamation point, colon with your head up it,” Colbert jabbed.
Colbert further took jabs at Nielsen after she said in a White House briefing that it is questionable if the families crossing the border are in fact families. “Yes, who can tell if these weeping toddlers are part of the family? They might not even be toddlers! They might be adults with shoes on their knees.”
Colbert also called out White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller for comments in which he described separating children from their parents as a “potent tool” for stopping migrants crossing the border. “Which is fitting because I’ve always thought of Stephen Miller as a potent tool,” Colbert said.
Late Night host Seth Meyers also slammed the Trump administration hard for its hardline and “cruel” border policy. Midway through Meyers’ “Closer Look” segment, he pointed out Trump’s kind words and sympathy for his former campaign chairman who was sent to jail this week for witness tampering but the lack of anything similar for the children separated from their parents at the southern border.
“If this policy strikes you as monstrous, inhuman and cruel then you’re a decent person. In other words, you are not Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” Meyers said. He also criticized press secretary Sarah Sanders and policy adviser Miller. “Miller is like a serial killer who leaves clues for the police.”
Meyers ended the segment with some somber words: “This policy is monstrous and morally repugnant and it is being done in our name. Any elected official who doesn’t call for an immediate end to it is complicit and anyone associated with it should resign in disgrace.”
Over on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah excoriated the administration’s racist policies, and trying to inch “toward their goal of being the Norway of the West.” Noah said the untold cruelty of putting children in cages wasn’t defensible unless of course, you worked at Fox & Friends, where “apparently that cage is not a cage.”
“I never ever thought I’d hear a positive spin on detaining children,” Noah said, adding mockingly, “‘Look, I’m a cage half-full kinda guy, after all what is a chain-link fence if not a wall made of silver linings? I mean, think about it!’… A cage is a cage.”
Jimmy Kimmel addressed the topic by sharing a clip from Fox & Friends, in which co-host Steve Doocy explains that the housing facilities the children are put in are not “cages.” He said, “Keep in mind, this is a great, big warehouse facility where they built walls out of chain-link fences.”
“Oh, they’re not cages. They’re walls built out of chain-link fences,” said Kimmel. “What do you call those?” he asked before the audience yelled out, “Cages.”
The Jimmy Kimmel Live! host added that he’s heard that people are comparing the situation to the 1982 film Sophie’s Choice. “I don’t know that that’s fair,” he said. “In Sophie’s Choice, the Nazis only made Meryl Streep give up one of her kids.”
“President Trump claims that he hates this policy even though it is 100 percent without question his policy,” he said. “He could stop it immediately if he wanted to, but of course he’s playing the opposite game and blaming Democrats.”
The host then shared a clip of Trump blaming the Democrats for “obstruction.” He said, “The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility.”
“Well it is,” said Kimmel in response to Trump’s statement. “What are you gonna do about that?”
The show then cut to a clip of Trump saying, “We’re going to have the Space Force.”
Jimmy Fallon explained the situation on The Tonight Show before stating, “Some people said they couldn’t believe Trump would do something like this, then African Americans, Muslims, DACA recipients, transgendered troops and special Olympians were like, ‘We can.'”
“Experts say there’s an easy fix for the problem,” said Fallon in regard to the separation of families. “The midterms.”
Fallon also discussed Melania Trump’s opposition of the policy. He read a statement from her office that said, “Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families.” He added, “However, Mrs. Trump is totally OK with wives being separated from their husbands.”
“I’m not gonna bullshit you. I know you. You’ve seen the news,” said Jordan Klepper on The Opposition before sharing news clips explaining the policy.
“OK, come across the border and we take your children away,” said the satirical host as he reiterated the policy. “That sounds harsh, but that’s also the policy of witches in candy houses, the Upside Down and Fuddruckers. Side note: Do not take your children to Fuddruckers.”
He continued, “Of course with this story, the anti-Trump media is turning the outrage up to 11. Claiming these poor kids are in ‘cages.'” Klepper said that the use of the word “cages” is the main problem. “The word ‘cages’ is so uncomfortable. It’s almost confining in a way. Can you imagine being forced into using the word ‘cages’ to accurately describe where you’re putting children?”
Klepper then discussed the left’s disgust for the zero-tolerance policy. “If you think about it for a second, literally only a second, it sounds really, really bad. Like movie-villain bad. Like we’re the guys who phone up and say, ‘We have your daughter. I hope you don’t have a special set of skills or else you’ll find us.”‘
The host then shared some advice for those on the right. “Don’t let them shame you. It’s OK. Don’t be afraid of these actions. You need to understand this is who we are. We’re the side that supports separating kids from their parents. We’re the deplorables.”
“Now, if you voted for the Trump administration or are in the Trump administration, you might be feeling a little itch in that fist-size spot between your lungs,” said Klepper. “And that’s just growing pains. Sorry, shrinking pains. You’re working through the different stages of self-acceptance.”
Klepper then shared the different phases of acceptance by Trump officials, including denial and blame. After sharing a clip of Trump blaming Democrats for the policy, Klepper said, “Trump just can’t undo something the Democrats did. It’s not health care or taxes or gun laws or anything Obama touched. His hands are tied.”
“If you’re still uncomfortable with what’s happening at the border, try moving onto the next stage. Appeal to a higher power,” suggested the host before a clip of Attorney General Jeff Sessions referencing the Bible as a legal document was shared. “Jeff Sessions is always appealing to a higher power,” Klepper began. “He needs to appeal to higher powers, whether it’s asking for help getting the peanut butter off the top shelf or getting him a booster seat so he can draft up some mandatory minimum for skateboarding.”
“Remember, the goal is acceptance. Luckily one man is already there,” said Klepper before sharing a clip that featured a statement from senior policy adviser Stephen Miller condoning the policy. “The guy who’s accepted and helped dictate America’s southern border policy is the same person who reportedly told a classmate they couldn’t be friends anymore because the classmate was Latino. Yeah, Helen’s face might have launched a thousand ships, but if those ships had seen this face, they would’ve turned the fuck around.”
Klepper concluded the topic by telling Trump administration members to accept and embrace the policy. “Stop being so defensive. Don’t pretend this isn’t you’re vision. Accept it because this is who we are.”
The policy has received criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Former first lady Laura Bush referred to the policy as “cruel” and “immoral” in a guest column for The Washington Post. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said that she supports tighter border security, but disagrees with the policy to separate families.
Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars have also been vocal about the issue on social media, with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Chelsea Handler, Kumail Nanjiani, Reese Witherspoon and more blasting the policy.
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