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Top immigration judge's comments about 3 and 4 year-old immigrants called horrifying

There are a total of 58 immigration courts throughout the U.S. and the judges who preside over these courts of law are responsible for making determinations related to removal, deportation and asylum cases involving individuals who are charged with coming to the U.S. illegally. The men and women who serve as judges in these immigration courts receive ongoing training and guidance on various immigration and judicial matters from officials within the U.S. Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review.

The recent controversial comments of one immigration judge named Jack H. Weil, who serves as an assistant chief immigration judge in the EOIR and is responsible for training immigration judges, have raised troubling concerns about the government's view on and approach to the growing child immigrant crisis.

According to The Washington Post, Weil was being deposed in a case being contested by the U.S. Justice Department over whether the government should be required to provide legal representation for the thousands of indigent children "who cannot afford a lawyer in immigration court proceedings." When defending the government's opposition to such a requirement, Weil commented that he has "taught immigration law literally to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds," further asserting that "you can do a fair hearing. It's going to take you a lot of time."

According to government figures, since July of 2014, "more than 20,000 unaccompanied children" have been summoned to appear in deportation hearings before U.S. immigration judges. Of these, roughly 8,400 were not represented by an attorney. The ALCU and other immigrant rights groups argue that these children's rights to due process are being violated as they are often very young and rarely speak English or understand the charges against them or their rights.

Consequently, when asked to answer questions related to their specific circumstances, most provide one-syllable answers and may inadvertently provide answers that jeopardize their right to appeal a decision or seek asylum.

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