John Oliver Exposes the Absurd Injustice of Immigration Courts on 'Last Week Tonight'

John Oliver took on a serious topic on April Fool's Day, of all days: the United States' dysfunctional immigration court system.

During a segment on Sunday's Last Week Tonight, host Oliver exposed the widespread injustice of immigration courts, particularly the ways in which they fail immigrant children.

Oliver showed one clip of a child awaiting an immigration hearing, expressing fear that she and her family would be killed if she was sent to her home country.

"That's horrible," Oliver said on the show, "because no child should have to worry about whether they're going to be murdered. The biggest thing they should be worrying about is whether they can sit with the cool kids while they eat their Tide Pods—and whether can please Slender Man."

There are roughly 60 immigration courts in the country, governed by the Department of Justice. These courts rarely receive the same scrutiny or sustained media attention as ICE raids or other immigration-related legal processes. More worryingly, "the system is a complete mess," Oliver said, citing current and former immigration court judges who acknowledged shocking flaws in "what sometimes passes for due process."

Case in point: Children as young as 3 or 4 years old are sometimes required to defend themselves in immigration courts. "You can't teach immigration law to a 3-year-old!" Oliver exclaimed in outrage. "You can't even explain to a child that age that Elmo isn't his best friend." Immigrants who may not speak English well are also frequently required to represent themselves instead of having access to a lawyer.

Meanwhile, the rate of deportations often seems to vary wildly depending on region, with a deportation rate of nearly 90 percent in Atlanta. In other words, whether an immigrant gets deported or not might arbitrarily depend on the city in which the trial takes place.

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Ultimately, in an attempt to prove that children are not suited to grasp immigration law and should not be forced to defend themselves, Last Week Tonight presented a mock courtroom TV show in which everyone was a toddler: Tot Bench. (Spoiler alert: The courtroom sketch artist uses an Etch A Sketch.)

Watch the full segment from HBO below: