In case you missed it, there was a remarkable exchange in a U.S. Senate hearing yesterday between Senator Patrick Leahy and Attorney General Loretta Lynch about the unbelievably absurd statement of federal immigration judge Jack Weil that three and four year-old children can be made to understand immigration law and represent themselves competently in deportation hearings. As the New York Times reports:
“I’ve never heard such a stupid, stupid, stupid thing,” said Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, on Wednesday. Mr. Leahy made it clear what he thought of that…
He hammered on the word “stupid” as if with a baseball bat.
Ms. Lynch was mild in reply. “I share with you your puzzlement over those statements,” she said. She added, “We do not take the view that children can represent themselves.”
She also noted that the Department of Justice isn’t required do anything about the problem. “The current law does not provide the right to counsel,” she said.
And here’s the Times editorial board in an excellent, if gentler, piece from Tuesday:
In this time of political absurdity, can it be any surprise that a federal immigration judge insists that toddlers can represent themselves in immigration court?
The judge, Jack Weil, did not appear to be joking when, in a deposition in a federal lawsuit, he told a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union: “I’ve taught immigration law literally to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of patience. They get it….” Read more