04 March 2016

This is Amazingly Evil

The most evil thing in America this doesn't come from the Republican Presidential campaign.

It came from immigration judge Jack Weil, who has asserted that 3 and 4 year old children are qualified to represent themselves before an immigration judge:
A senior Justice Department official is arguing that 3- and 4-year-olds can learn immigration law well enough to represent themselves in court, staking out an unconventional position in a growing debate over whether immigrant children facing deportation are entitled to taxpayer-funded attorneys.

Jack H. Weil, a longtime immigration judge who is responsible for training other judges, made the assertion in sworn testimony in a deposition in federal court in Seattle. His comments highlighted the plight of thousands of juveniles who are forced to defend themselves each year in immigration court amid a surge of children from Central America who cross the southwestern U.S. border .

“I’ve taught immigration law literally to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds,” Weil said. “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.”

He repeated his claim twice in the deposition, also saying, “I’ve told you I have trained 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds in immigration law,” according to a transcript. “You can do a fair hearing. It’s going to take you a lot of time.”

Legal and child psychology experts ridiculed Weil’s assertions, noting that key milestones for 3- and 4-year-olds include cooperating with other children, saying simple sentences and building towers of blocks.

“I nearly fell off my chair when I read that deposition,” said Laurence Steinberg, a psychology professor at Temple University, who is a witness for the plaintiffs in the Seattle case. “Three- and 4-year-olds do not yet have logical reasoning abilities. It’s preposterous, frankly, to think they could be taught enough about immigration law to be able to represent themselves in court.”


Lauren Alder Reid, a spokeswoman for the department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), said in a statement: “At no time has the Department indicated that 3 and 4 year olds are capable of representing themselves. Jack Weil was speaking in a personal capacity and his statements, therefore, do not necessarily represent the views of EOIR or the Department of Justice.”


Weil is not just any immigration official. As an assistant chief immigration judge in EOIR’s Office of the Chief Immigration Judge — which sets and oversees policies for the nation’s 58 immigration courts — he is responsible for coordinating the Justice Department’s training of immigration judges.


Ahilan Arulanantham, deputy legal director at the ACLU of Southern California and the attorney who questioned Weil in the deposition, said he initially thought the judge had misspoken “because what he said was so outrageous. As I asked further questions, he obviously meant what he said.”

“This is the person in charge of training immigration judges about how to treat children? And this is the witness the government puts forward to present their views as to how this is supposed to happen? That is horrifying,” said Arulanantham. He added that Weil’s assertions “are going to be a significant issue in the case.”

Unlike in felony criminal cases in federal court, children charged with violating immigration laws have no right to appointed counsel, even though the government is represented by Department of Homeland Security attorneys.

Although a network of pro bono organizations and a Justice Department program try to help children find attorneys — some paid for by the government — many children are forced to fend for themselves. According to Justice Department figures, 42 percent of the more than 20,000 unaccompanied children involved in deportation proceedings completed between July 2014 and late December had no attorney. It is unclear how often children 5 or under are forced to defend themselves, but attorneys and advocates for immigrants said it does happen.
This is a level of outright malice inherent in his statements that leaves me dumbstruck.

Weil should not be an Immigration Judge.  I'm not sure that he should be trusted as a pastry chef.


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