Right now we are riding the wave of the craziest presidential campaign where the issue of illegal immigration is raised by all candidates, and that issue is serious, no doubt about it.
But, when a person gets onto the soil of the United States of America, that person is entitled to due process of law in how that person is being ejected.
I know that immigration proceedings are civil proceedings.
And I know that in civil proceedings, taxpayer-paid attorneys are often not provided.
Yet, federal courts have found that in deportation proceedings, there may be a right to government-paid attorney based on age and mental capacity of aliens to be deported.
And, where the "alien to be deported" is a 3 or 4-year-old child, it is clear that such a child is not legally competent to present legal representation of himself or herself, and is not supposed to have assets of his or her own to be able to hire an attorney.
Thus, denial of a government-paid attorney to a 3-year-old because allegedly, a 3-year-old can be "taught immigration law" enough to defend himself or herself (I wonder who will be doing THAT, and at whose expense) is most definitely a 5th Amendment due process violation - as well as a basic human rights violation.
Yet, that is exactly what a federal government official proposed, no joke, no fake, it was just reported by the Washington Post.
The name of the "hero" who made that statement, that 3-year-olds can be taught to represent themselves in deportation proceedings, was made by JackH. Weil who is an Assistant Chief Immigration Judge of the United States:
#JudgeJackHWeil was appointed with a "responsibility for training immigration judges, court administrators, interpreters, legal technicians and judicial law clerks".
Once again, Judge Weil's responsibility is to train 5 categories of people:
- immigration judges;
- court administration;
- legal technicians;
- judicial law clerks
Yet, Judge Weil, in a deposition, admitted under oath to training 3-year-old immigrant children how to represent themselves in deportation proceedings:
The Washington Post quoted Judge Weil as saying in that deposition: “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. It’s not the most efficient, but it can be done.”
First, what was Judge Weil's authority to "teach immigration law literally to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds?"
Second question, what was the necessity of that?
Third question, who paid for that?
Fourth question, isn't it cheaper (if no other issues than money can lodge themselves into the minds of immigration judges and authorities) to pay for an attorney to represent a child than to teach a child, most likely a non-native speaker of English who is barely verbal, immigration law - and not in lieu of a lullaby, but so that the 3-year old would be able to use it in representing himself or herself in a deportation proceeding?
I wonder how did we arrive to a situation where judges are not even ashamed to say what Judge Weil said? And in the context where he said it, obviously justifying denial of counsel to 3- and 4-year olds.
Remember, this is the judge who teaches other immigration judges.
Judge Weils' statement, which makes a reader to question their perception of reality, because it is not a joke, not a fake and not some kind of warped science fiction, can be also developed on a whole new level.
Because, if 3-year-olds can be successfully taught law at the level allowing them to represent themselves in court in life-changing proceedings, why do we need attorneys at all? Why do we have the right to counsel at all? Why do we assign counsel to children in Family Courts at all? After all, they can be taught - in public schools, as part of regular curriculum - to represent themselves.
And, if any 3-year-old can master the intricacies of the legal profession, why license attorneys, why protect adult consumers of legal services? If a 3-year-old can get it all?