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Trump hauls toddlers into court 

LowDown

We Americans believe everyone has a right to have their day in court. Right?

But what if the court is turned into a loony bin, making a mockery of justice? Welcome to the federal immigration courts that are struggling to deal with the insanity of Trump’s imperious “zero tolerance” decree that all Latino asylum seekers will be jailed and prosecuted as criminals.

How insane is it? Toddlers, separated from their parents by Trump’s border guards, are being put on trial for entering illegally. “We were representing a 3-year-old in court,” said a dismayed defender of a migrant kiddo, “and the child — in the middle of the hearing — started climbing up on the table. It really highlighted the absurdity of what we’re doing with kids.”

Not just doing “with” them, but to them. Fleeing unimaginable trauma in their home country, then suffering the pain of being torn away from their parents inside our border, the expectation that these little ones can mount a legal defense has rightly been labeled “unconscionable” and “grossly inappropriate” by experts. But I would add, inexpertly, that it is insane and evil.
Here’s a bit of Trumpian evil for you: Johan, a 1-year-old Honduran boy taken from his amnesty-seeking father by border agents was hauled into federal immigration court in July. A 1-year-old! As an Associated Press reporter wrote, the baby briefly played with a ball, drank from a bottle then “cried hysterically.” The law doesn’t even require that children have a lawyer to represent them! The judge said he was too “embarrassed” to try explaining this judicial proceeding to anyone: “I don’t know who you would explain it to, unless you think that a 1-year-old could learn immigration law,” the judge said in exasperation.

For his part, our immigrant-bashing Mr. President began to rant like a dotty old geezer that he would not allow “these people” be given any legal avenue to address their plight. “No Judges or Court Cases,” he barked in a series of tweets. “Tell the people ‘OUT,’ and they must leave, just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn.”

Old Man Trump has gone completely screwy about the essential role of the rule of law in our nation. In fact, if you stood on the front lawn of his Mar-a-Lago resort, he might have you removed by force, but you’d have access to a court to plead your case and seek justice. That’s the American way, whether an autocratic property owner likes it or not. Unless, of course, his highness arbitrarily nullifies 230 years of legal protections for the people’s democratic rights.

You can contact Hightower at jimhightower.com.

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