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Judicial Council 2/National Association of Immigration Judges Fights DOJ Effort to Decertify Their Union

This week, leaders from the National Association of Immigration Judges/IFPTE Judicial Council 2 (NAIJ) were in Washington, DC to fight a petition by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that seeks to reclassify immigration judges as management officials, thereby, decertifying the union.

NAIJ President Judge Ashley Tabaddor and President Emeritus Judge Dana Leigh Marks testified at the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) DC Regional Office that immigration judges' duties and responsibilities have not changed since 2000, the last time the DOJ unsuccessfully requested the FLRA to reclassify immigration judges as managers and strip them of their union. If anything, imposition of performance evaluations linked to quotas and new DOJ policies have diminished immigration judges' authority since the FLRA ruled in favor of the union in 2000.

In addition to Judges Tabaddor and Marks, NAIJ reps Judge Samuel Cole and Judge Jacinto Palomino also attended the hearing, as did Association of Administrative Law Judges/IFPTE Judicial Council 1 (AALJ) President, Judge Melissa McIntosh.

NAIJ attorney Richard Bialczak argued that the DOJ is “raising the same arguments and hoping for a different outcome,” and that, DOJ, “simply does not want to deal with a vocal union that asserts its rights.” Read the GovExec article about the case here.

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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