Toddlers Representing Themselves in Court

Toddlers Representing Themselves in Court July 10, 2018

So here’s a story that again, got almost no coverage from Right Wing Media when it broke in 2013, but got plenty of coverage in what consumers of Right Wing Lie Machine media call “fake news”:

Undocumented Minors Represent Themselves In Court

It’s hard to imagine kids defending themselves in court, but that’s often what happens when undocumented minors wind up in immigration proceedings.

Children who immigrate illegally to the United States often must face the courts on their own, a HuffPost Live segment that aired Monday points out.

It’s a problem that’s becoming more common. The number of unaccompanied minors crossing into the United States illegally nearly doubled last year to about 14,000, according to the Texas Observer.

Judy London, Director the Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, says she’s seen children in court that are so young that they have to be held by an adult. According to London:

This shouldn’t be happening. There’s a constitutional right these children have to due process and a right through our immigration laws to a fair proceeding. It’s happening because no one’s complained loudly enough who votes.

Three years later, a judge ruled that toddlers–toddlers–could represent themselves in immigration court, a ruling Senator Patrick Leahy called “stupid, stupid, stupid.”

Now, as attention is drawn to the border by Trump’s amplification of already-idiotic policies like this with his child torture policy of forced separation of families, attention is finally starting to be paid and we are hearing incredible things like this:

“‘We were representing a 3-year-old in court recently who had been separated from the parents. And the child — in the middle of the hearing — started climbing up on the table,’ said Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles. ‘It really highlighted the absurdity of what we’re doing with these kids.’

“Steve Lee, a UCLA child psychology professor, said expecting the children to advocate for themselves in court is an ‘incredibly misaligned expectation.’ … ‘That couldn’t be any less developmentally appropriate,’ he said, adding that some children may not be mature enough to verbalize a response.”

There is not a DUH big enough in the universe to respond to this.

Christianist consumers of the Right Wing Lie Machine, whose sole interest is in blaming Obama, not the children who are victims of both Obama and Trump, will spend their time noting that this moronic policy goes back to at least 2013 and claiming that Trump is therefore exonerated for continuing it (because the Buck Stops Everywhere But with the Party of Personal Responsibility).  They will lie that because they are just hearing about it now, that means the Liberal Media covered it up for Obama.  All it really means is that they did not read the media that covered it at the time and has been covering and protesting it since then.

Meanwhile, the only thing that really, actually, matters is that UNDOCUMENTED TODDLERS ARE EXPECTED TO REPRESENT THEMSELVES IN COURT.

Christians and all sane people reject this.  Christianists will defend it as they defend every insane cruelty this regime supports.  They will lie that this is just and wise and besides it’s Obama’s fault.  They will not think for one second of the only thing that really, actually, matters: UNDOCUMENTED TODDLERS ARE EXPECTED TO REPRESENT THEMSELVES IN COURT.

How did we get here and what can we do to fix it? The entertaining John Oliver helps break things down for us non-lawyer so we can start processing the insanity and think about creating sanity:

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