Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles immigration

Trevor Noah vivisects John Kelly's crude anti-immigrant argument. Jordan Klepper rewrites U.S. history.

The Trump administration's new immigration policy, which entails separating children from their parents indefinitely, "is a horrible proposal — and a great for the Mexican reboot of Taken," Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. But President Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, stole the spotlight with his comments about immigrants to NPR, including the refreshing idea that "Mexicans aren't all criminals" Noah paraphrased, and the less great argument that Latino immigrants are unskilled, "overwhelmingly rural people" with scant education who wouldn't "easily assimilate into the United States" and must be prosecuted because "the laws are the laws."

"So they're not bad people, they're just not the right people?" Noah asked. "It's weird to me that Kelly starts out talking about the law and then he's suddenly talking about the people. Because here's the thing: If the laws are the laws, it shouldn't matter whether the people breaking them are 'overwhelmingly rural' or not. Kelly's showing his hand here." But anti-immigrant rhetoric is nothing new in America, Noah said, running through historical animus toward Irish, Italians, and other immigrant groups before hammering Kelly with the tale of his own great grandparents.

"The libs were ready to jump on Kelly's so-called 'hypocrisy,'" Jordan Klepper said at The Opposition, but "John Kelly's ancestors were exactly the kind of high-achievers he wants in America. In those days, wagon driver and fruit peddler were basically CEO and iPhone investor." He had Kobi Libii come out and give a creative history lesson on America's longstanding "no scrubs" immigration policy. "We're like the Harvard of countries," he explained. "Not everyone can get in. You might get wait-listed or you might have to go to your safety country — which, funnily enough for asylum-seekers, is much less safe." Watch the historical revisionism below. Peter Weber