During Sunday night’s Last Week Tonight on HBO, host John Oliver denounced GOP critics of allowing Syrian refugees into America.
“It is absolutely fair to be concerned about safety in the wake of these attacks,” Oliver said on the program, referring to the terrorist attacks in Paris this month that killed more than 100 people. “Unfortunately many of the people talking about it this week don’t seem to have the first idea of what we’re doing.”
Oliver said the actions of GOP governors who have pledged to keep Syrian refugees out of their states were “pretty extreme,” but “also pretty meaningless.”
“One, governors don’t have the legal authority to ban refugees, and two, even in if they could, Syrians can just walk between states like anyone else. The lines on maps are not crocodile-filled moats,” Oliver joked.
Oliver then blasted the Republican presidential field for being tough on immigration, going particularly hard after Bush, who he said did not have an adequate plan to ensure all refugees taken in by America would be Christian.
“‘I think you can prove it,'” Oliver said, mocking comments recently made by Bush about how it would be possible to vet Christians. “‘You see, a Christian has ears that protrude out from their heads, whereas non-Christians lack external ears altogether. You know what, hold on, I’m thinking about seals and sea lions, I often get them confused, forget everything I’ve said about Christians and Muslims, I don’t know what I’m talking about.'”
Later on, Oliver suggested that “every generation has had its own ugly reaction to refugees, whether they’re the Irish, the Vietnamese, the Cubans or the Haitians, and those fears have been broadly unfounded.”
“In fact, there was only one time in American history when the fear of refugees wiping everyone out did actually come true — and we’ll all be sitting around a table celebrating it on Thursday,” Oliver joked.
The late-night host also made some suggestions for what he said is a too-tough vetting process for the Syrian refugees.
“At this point, why don’t we just include a pie-eating contest, a spelling bee, and an evening-wear portion?”
Watch Oliver’s full Last Week Tonight segment on Syrian refugees above.