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John Oliver misleads about immigration, helps the wealthy harm American workers (HBO, "Undocumented Opinions")

John Oliver is an unfunny English comic who was previously on Jon Stewart's show and who now has his own program on HBO called Last Week Tonight.

On last night's show he misled about the immigration issue and promoted policies that will help the wealthy exploit both foreign and American workers. That might come as a surprise to many of his viewers, but the bottom line of his immigration policies is the bottom line: under Oliver's policies wages would fall and profits for the very wealthy would rise.

On the show, Oliver referred to "heartbreaking photos of hundreds of children being held in detention facilities" and said they show "just how badly our immigration system is broken". It's those like Oliver who are responsible for the situation in the first place; see the link. Oliver is engaging in false compassion: wringing his hands over a situation those like him helped cause. Oliver is also using verbatim a stock talking point, the misleading claim that the system is broken. See all those links for detailed explanations.

Oliver takes Dave Brat out of context, accusing Brat of a strawman argument when it's Oliver himself who is using such an argument [1].

Referring to one higher-priced method smugglers use, Oliver says "anyone who manages to immigrate into America on a jetsky probably belongs here". Although that's an attempt at a joke, the underlying sentiment isn't: that those who manage to make it across the border alive belong here. That's a darwinistic policy; the flipside is that those who didn't make it - such as by dying in the desert - wouldn't have belonged here anyway. Others who've expressed similar darwinistic policies include Jennifer Rubin, Rosa Brooks, and Gary Johnson.

Oliver then lists immigrants who've created American products: "Levi’s jeans? A Bavarian. The White House? Designed by an Irishman. Superman? A Kryptonian, who was co-created by a Canadian." See the immigration tradition fallacy page for how he's misleading on that.

Oliver refers to a claim by Senator Jeff Sessions and says that the idea that "undocumented workers take American jobs... is not true..." He then says that multiple sources - "including the conservativate American Enterprise Institute" say there's "no evidence of immigrants hurting American employment."

Oliver himself disproves the idea that foreign citizens take American jobs (assuming Oliver is still a citizen of England). His job could be easily done by hundreds of American comics (and probably better in most cases).

Ask yourself why the US Chamber of Commerce is pulling out all the stops to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Are they in the habit of doing things that help American workers, that increase wages, and improve working conditions? Dozens of the largest corporations in the U.S. all want mass immigration and immigration reform. Do McDonalds and WalMart tend to do things that increase their labor costs? Oliver thinks you should trust studies, some of which are flawed and some of which are funded by the beneficiaries of looser immigration. There are different types of immigrants, and lumping them all together is one way studies deceive. For instance, a small number of higher-earning immigrants that employ large numbers of people can be used to mask the impact of a larger number of lower-earning immigrants and illegal aliens whose jobs could be done by Americans.

Isn't a clearer guide the actions that corporations worth hundreds of billions of dollars take? If mass immigration didn't help major corporations lower their wage costs, you might expect to find one that opposes mass immigration. (You won't). Oliver is on the side of those major corporations, not on the side of those they employ.

Note also that the AEI is partly funded by the Koch family, and the Kochs tend to support massive immigration even more strongly than Oliver.

Oliver is also using deceptive language: "undocumented" is a euphemism for the legally-correct illegal alien (see immigration terminology) and not all those here illegally are working.

There are around 92 million Americans who aren't even in the labor market, as a percentage the highest in around 35 years. There are millions of Americans who are seeking work. The pro-American alternative to Oliver's anti-American polices would be to promote policies that enable those millions of Americans to do jobs currently done by illegal aliens.

Referring to a Michelle Bachmann statement about Obama allowing massive immigration in order to gain votes, Oliver says, "so that's the argument? We can't let the immigrants in because they'll never vote for us?" Oliver offers his solution of "just try treating them better. Maybe as if they're human beings who might have something to offer the country." First, the GOP leadership is quite friendly towards immigrants and Hispanics, pushing much the same policies as Oliver wants and pandering almost as much as the Democratic Party does. The problem is that the Democrats will always be able to out-pander the GOP. Since figures were kept, Hispanics tended to vote for the Democrats; even Reagan passing amnesty didn't help. Oliver is either being disingenuous or can't figure things out.

Not content with all that, Oliver engages in the Lazarus fallacy; see the link.

Then, Oliver plays a cartoon.

The cartoon is a version of the movie "American Tail" updated to reflect his reality. The revised cartoon implies illegal aliens are fearful of going to the emergency room. Hospitals that are having trouble keeping their doors open due to illegal aliens seeking treatment would beg to differ. Note also that emergency treatment cannot lawfully be denied, and laws such as Proposition 187 didn't seek to change that.

The cartoon's subject (a mouse) is "forced to take a job at a mousetrap factory". That's another example of false compassion; see the link above. It's those like John Oliver that want massive or illegal immigration, and many of those coming will end up being exploited by sweatshop owners, growers, food processors and the like. The only way to stop that is to enforce our immigration laws. The lower enforcement that John Oliver wants will always result in a poll of lower-skilled, easily-exploited workers. Oliver is yet again decrying a situation those like him help bring about.

The cartoon refers to the "INS". That agency hasn't existed for over a decade. That's like someone claiming to know all about East European politics but not being aware that Czechoslovakia doesn't exist anymore.

If I still haven't convinced you that Oliver is on the wrong side of immigration, I want to hear about it. Leave a comment below and I'll add more, or contact me at @24AheadDotCom_ .

If you want to do something about this, then take a few minutes out every few days and make the points above to one John Oliver fan. That will only take a small amount of time per week, but helping discredit him over this issue will send a message to him and to others who promote the same bad policies. You can find his supporters by searching Twitter for those tweeting at @iamjohnoliver.

UPDATE: Jeremy Robbins - Executive Director of the Michael Bloomberg front group "Partnership for a New American Economy" (@renewoureconomy) - links to video of the Oliver segment, saying of it:

Brilliant @iamjohnoliver takedown of immigration opponents, uses @renewoureconomy material

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[1] In a Dave Brat interview, he said this ( peekURL.com/z3k8hsw ):

"...If you want to help the rest of the world you need to encourage free markets, private property rights and strong rule of law and get rid of the dictators in a lot of these countries. If we do that -- those are just fundamental simple ideas and, we did that after World War II with Japan and Germany, we built them up, we trade together and everybody is rich. It works out well. It’s a win-win. Clearly we cannot import 7 billion people on the planet into the United States of America. It's a nonstarter."

Oliver only played the last part, implying that Brat thinks everyone who wants looser immigration wants everyone in the world to come here. There are in fact some libertarians that do want completely open borders where anyone could come here at any time for any reasons; there are more libertarians who only want those coming here checked for criminal activity or terrorism but who otherwise would let anyone in. One leading libertarian even proposed giving everyone in Haiti a green card. Some libertarians - such as Will Wilkinson - present mass immigration to the U.S. as a way to solve or lessen global poverty. It was that group targeted by Brat's statement. Oliver deceptively took his quote out of context to make it appear that he was referring to all those who want looser immigration.

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 14:49 · Importance: 4