America Is Forcing Immigrant Toddlers to Appear in Deportation Court Alone

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America Is Forcing Immigrant Toddlers to Appear in Deportation Court Alone

I honestly don’t even know what to say anymore. Any country who does this is just evil. There’s no other way to put it. Per The Texas Tribune:

“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.”

Reporters spoke to Dr. Bernard Dreyer, director of the division of developmental-behavioral pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine, and he condemned the practice.

“It’s certainly grossly inappropriate,” said Dreyer, who is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics advocacy committee. “I’m ashamed that we’re doing this.”

Leaders at three legal services organizations and a private firm confirmed that the children are being served with notices to appear in court. They are not entitled to an attorney but rather are given a list of legal services organizations that might help them.

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.

This practice is likely due to Operation Streamline, an initiative started at the Department of Homeland Security in 2005 under the George W. Bush administration. The specific point of the policy is to hold mass trials to get through “zero tolerance” deportation proceedings as fast as possible.

Baby deportation proceedings, child concentration camps, and mass trials. Whatever fairy tales we’ve been taught to tell ourselves over the years paper over the fact that this is America.

Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.

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