John Oliver blasts absurd legal process for undocumented children

George Back
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver took on the case of undocumented children in immigration courts. Since they are not citizens, the children are not given legal representation. This means children as young as 2 have to defend themselves.

John Oliver finds the idea of asking a 2-year-old to represent herself in a legal proceeding pretty ridiculous. “You can’t let a 2-year-old be unsupervised in court,” he said. “You can’t even let a 2-year-old be unsupervised in a bouncy castle. They’re going to come out covered in glitter, holding a broken beer bottle and a dead bird. How did they get them? Who knows? The point is, they can’t be left alone for a second. And that bird has already been in their mouth. It just has. You have to deal with that reality.”

While most reasonable people would agree with Oliver, some judges believe that children are capable of defending themselves. Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Jack Weil said, “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.”  

Oliver responded to this claim saying, “You can’t teach immigration law to a 3-year-old. You can’t even explain to a child that age that Elmo isn’t his best friend.”

To prove that putting young children in a courtroom setting is ludicrous, Oliver left viewers with a clip from his fake daytime court show called Tot Bench. The only adult on it is the defendant. As you might expect, there isn’t much order in this court.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver airs Sundays at 11 p.m. on HBO.

John Oliver wrote a children’s book about Mike Pence’s rabbit, who happens to be gay:


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