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01.18.20

AP and Washington Post Report on DOJ's Attack on Judges Union Amidst the Crisis in Immigration Courts

This week, a major Associated Press (AP) new report highlighted the myriad challenges within the U.S. Immigration Court, including the DOJ’s attempt to silence Immigration Judges by attacking their union rights.

In their reporting, AP journalists observed Immigration Court proceedings throughout the U.S., talked to officers of the National Association of Immigration Judges/IFPTE Judicial Council 2 (NAIJ), and described the impact that the lack of resources and policy decisions that undermine due process, fairness, and efficiency - issues NAIJ has consistently brought attention to - has on those that appear in the Immigration Court.

The AP story quotes Judge Ashley Tabaddor, NAIJ President, and Judge Amiena Khan, NAIJ Executive Vice President, about how the longstanding problems of the Immigration Court have reached a point of “nonstop chaos,” a crisis that has only been made worse by DOJ policies that remove judicial independence from Immigration Judges.

As the story notes, "The judges’ union has called for the courts to be made independent and free of government influence. In turn, the Department has asked federal labor authorities to put an end to the union."

Read the AP new report AP Visits Immigration Courts Across US, Finds Nonstop Chaos.

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This weekend, Washington Post’s Federal Insider column delved into politicized nature of the DOJ’s petition to declare Immigration Judges be classified as managers and therefore be ineligible for union rights.

Earlier this month, the Federal Labor Relations Authority’s (FLRA) DC regional office held their hearing on the DOJ petition and heard testimony from the DOJ and from NAIJ union officers. As the Post article notes, the DOJ claim is partly based on the notion that the FLRA incorrectly determined that Immigration Judges are not management in 2000 when the FLRA heard a similar petition.

The Post article quotes NAIJ President Judge Ashley Tabaddor describing policy changes since 2000 as removing judicial independence in order to advance political considerations, creating a“widget factory model process [where] the judges have been subjected to quotas and deadlines, which intrudes upon their decision-making authority. The court system has been micromanaged from the top based on law enforcement priority.”

Ultimately, the DOJ’s attack on the union rights of Immigration Judges is a continuation of the Trump Administrations attack on federal employees unions and due process in the immigration system.

Read the Washington Post article Trump has attacked federal unions. Now, for the first time, he’s trying to bust one.

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Additional coverage of NAIJ and the DOJ's attacks on the Immigration Judges' union rights and judicial independence can be found here.

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