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On Thursday’s episode of “The Late Show,” Stephen Colbert got deadly serious when discussing the Justice Department’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents as a tactic to try to deter illegal immigration. It’s best summed up by one line: “If it sounds evil, then good news, your ears are working.”
Colbert’s political commentary on “The Late Show” is rarely entirely fun and games, because even when he’s making jokes he’s also making, well, actual political commentary. It may grant some catharsis via comedy to people upset about the direction Donald Trump is steering the U.S., but Colbert is still making real points. And tonight he got as real as he’s been since Trump took office.
Below you can find a complete transcription of Colbert’s comments — it just felt like the right way to do this. If you’d prefer to watch Colbert say it himself, we’ve got the video embedded above as well.
“The only thing dads really want for Father’s Day is to be with their kids. Which is why what’s been happening on our southern border is so shocking. Usually, for me to talk about a news story on this show, especially a tragic one, it has to be something everyone’s already talking about. that’s my job: to give my take on the conversation that everyone’s already having. With any luck, my take is funnier than yours, or I would be watching you.
“But this story is different. because this is the conversation everybody should be having. Attorney General and man daydreaming about legally changing his name to ‘Jim Crow,’ Jeff Sessions, has instituted a new policy to separate immigrant kids from their parents at the border. So far ‘1,358 children have reportedly been ripped from their families at the U..S. border.’ Now, if it sounds evil, then good news, your ears are working.
“Here’s the bad news: the United States, that’s you and me, who are putting up with our government saying to immigrants, ‘If you come to the United States, the worst thing imaginable will happen to you. We will take your children away with no guarantee you’ll see them again.’ That is using cruelty as a deterrent. That’s not my interpretation. That is our stated intention. Three government officials said part of the reason for the proposal is to deter mothers from migrating to the united states with their children. The other part is just recreational racism.
“Clearly, no decent human being could defend that, so Jeff Sessions did. In fact, he said that separating kids from their families is the Lord’s work.”
Jeff Sessions [in a video]: “Illegal entry into the United States is a crime. it should be, it must be. I would cite you to the apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because god has ordained the government for his purposes.”
Colbert: “Don’t bring God into this! First of all, I don’t think God picked you, because I don’t worship Vladimir Putin. And the only thing in the bible close to this is a king threatening to cut a baby in two, and he was joking. But I’ll give him this: that is what Romans 13:1 says — you gotta have laws. But if he just read a little bit further to Romans 13:10, it says ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.’
“But I’m not surprised Sessions didn’t read the whole thing. After all, Jesus said, ‘Suffer the children to come unto me.’ But I’m pretty sure that all Sessions saw was the words ‘children’ and ‘suffer’ and said, ‘I’m on it.’ Now these kids have to go somewhere, so the Trump administration is talking about erecting the tent cities on military bases, they’ve also got an abandoned Walmart. They’re stacking these kids in like cord wood. But it wouldn’t matter if you took them to really nice hotels. Or Trump Hotels. We’d still be the only country in the whole damn world doing it because it’s just plain wrong. So, for father’s day, call your elected representatives and demand they do something.
“I sincerely believe that it doesn’t matter who you voted for — if we let this happen in our name we are a feckless country.”
That last bit is, of course, a reference to Samantha Bee’s comment about Ivanka Trump a couple weeks back that got her into hot water with advertisers.
Again, you can watch Colbert’s comments in full in the video embedded at the top of this post.