Senior US judge claims three-year-olds can represent themselves in immigration court

"It’s not the most efficient, but it can be done"

A senior judge in the US has claimed toddlers are able to represent themselves in immigration cases.

Jack H. Weil, who is also responsible for training other immigration judges, made the comment in a sworn deposition in a Seattle court.

According to the Washington Post, thousands of unaccompanied minors are forced to defend themselves in immigration courts in the US.

“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.”

“You can do a fair hearing,” the transcript reads. “It’s going to take you a lot of time.”

Experts speaking to the paper dismissed Weil's claims, stating that key milestones for three and four-year-olds include cooperating with other children and saying simple sentences - far short of grasping legal procedures.

The deposition was given during an American Council for Civil Liberties case taken against the US Justice Department to guarantee appointed counsel for indigent children in immigration courts.

Weil said the comments were taken out of context, while the department distanced itself from the claims.