Why John Oliver Wants Americans to Rethink Immigration

John Oliver: comedian, TV host, and immigrant. The "Last Week Tonight" star spoke with Brut about his work with the International Refugee Assistance Project — and what America gets wrong about immigration.

What John Oliver Wants You To Know About U.S. Immigration

John Oliver is a comedian, humanitarian but he’s also an immigrant — and wants Americans to wake up to how the U.S. is treating immigrants and refugees.

“I have hands on experience with the American immigration process, which is rough even for somebody like me, which is incredible because I have probably had all the advantages to navigate the U.S. immigration system and yet it is still incredibly difficult.”

Oliver is on the board of the International Refugee Assistance Project, which is dedicated to finding legal aid for refugees and displaced people. For Oliver, partnering with IRAP is a personal decision as much as it is political.

“There's a gigantic misconception between what you would think America's a process was for refugees and what it actually is, because you would think there was one that was at least coherent, but what there is something that is completely shattered and does not serve the people you have to kind of have to work despite the system rather than because of it. And that is where you do need a lawyer because it's built otherwise for you to fail.”

IRAP has resettled over 2,000 refugees and pushed for immigration policy changes that affect hundreds of thousands of refugees.

“You make a promise to someone in good faith who you've been through incredibly difficult situations with. And then to have the country slam the brakes on those visas particularly those special immigrant visas was absolutely infuriating to watch.”

Oliver says the current administration’s attitudes on immigrantion and refugees solutions goes against everything America stands for. “Any time you find yourself saying "go back where you came from," you're standing on some very spicy ground.”


05/10/2019 10:22 AM


  • Tony H.
    06/04/2019 01:04

    Kudos to John Oliver for speaking the truth and to Brut Media for giving him yet another platform to reach all us all. Bravo!

  • Dan W.
    05/25/2019 02:32

    immigration will never get fixed until BOTH sides stop using it as a political football.

  • Jonathan H.
    05/24/2019 15:37

    More difficult? As compared to what other nation whose bureaucracy has muddled whole legal immigration process for years (not just within the current administration) and whose borders are increasingly inundated daily?

  • Jason W.
    05/23/2019 14:42

    In this day and age - there should be NO immigration - if you think letting as bunch of filth contaminate our nation , ask a native american.

  • Mark B.
    05/22/2019 04:37

    I couldn't imagine immigrating to a country, getting rich there and just constantly bashing the country and it's citizens. This guy is a weasel.

  • Silas K.
    05/22/2019 00:50

    What america gets wrong is having borders.

  • محمد م.
    05/21/2019 12:35

    لا يوج د عدل لديكم الامم المتحده في لبنان تعامل الاجائين كانهم ليسو بشر كل يوم ٧٥ سنت لي الفرد الواحد في الشهر ٢٧ دولار ماذ يطعمنا وماذا يلبس وماذا ياكل

  • Manuz K.
    05/21/2019 12:23

    How can I be partner or assist.?

  • Brandon B.
    05/21/2019 01:45

    He's wrong on one crucial point: the problem, and what is antithetical to everything America stands for, is not just the current administration. It's the Republicans, and the hateful, stupid people who vote for them.

  • Susan F.
    05/20/2019 18:34

    You are Invited! Jon Finer and Becca Heller will join Chad and Susan Finer, David Bartlett and Jen Moyer at the Norwich Congregational Church on Saturday, June 8 at 4:30 PM for a special event that will offer unique perspectives on today's immigration crisis, including the urgent challenges facing forcibly displaced people, the national and global implications of this growing emergency, and the life-saving work of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) provides legal advocacy for refugees and displaced people in need of a safe place to call home. We work with to identify and navigate pathways to safety through free direct legal representation, systemic advocacy, and litigation. Our gathering will examine how IRAP is addressing the most serious refugee crisis since World War II and fighting for the rights of the vulnerable populations who are affected, featuring remarks by Becca Heller, IRAP’s Executive Director, and Jon Finer, IRAP’s Board Chair. Ten years ago, Becca and Jon Finer joined three other classmates at Yale Law School to start an extracurricular organization to assist refugees fleeing violence and persecution with their resettlement applications. This organization became IRAP, which over the past decade has positively impacted the lives of nearly 200,00 refugees and other displaced people worldwide. In recognition of IRAP’s programs Becca will return to Dartmouth, her Alma mater, to receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree at this year’s 2009 Commencement Ceremony. Jon is happy to return to his hometown of Norwich for the IRAP event, as a graduate of the Marion Cross School, Richmond Middle School, and Hanover High School. We hope you can join us! Sat, June 8, 2019 4:30 PM Norwich Congregational Church 15 Church Street Norwich, VT 05055

  • Kimberly S.
    05/19/2019 22:31

    No threat Just come legally.

  • John M.
    05/18/2019 12:59

    It’s not that they want zero immigrants. The administration just wants white immigrants

  • Elsie E.
    05/15/2019 18:15

    One little one, little two little indian, one little indian booooooooooy!

  • Wayne D.
    05/15/2019 08:49

    The US doesn't owe it to anyone to make it easy

  • Franklin V.
    05/14/2019 04:59

    Let's start supporting illegal immigration by illegally entering people's houses to then demand their owners to let us stay there.

  • Karen Z.
    05/12/2019 17:12


  • Farhad M.
    05/11/2019 15:55

    Thanks for your strongest supporting!

  • Aaron J.
    05/10/2019 21:03

    Thank you John Oliver. You shared a very personal experience in a very powerful way.

  • Brut
    05/10/2019 14:51

    Listen to the story of how one Syrian refugee fled her country.

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