The Trump administration has been accused of making an attempt to “evade transparency and accountability” with its new push to decertify the union representing immigration judges within the U.S.
Last week, a Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson instructed The New York Times on Friday that the division had filed a petition to the Federal Labor Relations Authority searching for to know whether or not the National Association of Immigration Judges might have its certification revoked.
The union’s members, the DOJ argued, are technically “management officials” and may due to this fact be unable to collectively manage.
But whereas the Trump administration has sought to defend the bid, leaders of the union have condemned the transfer as a “desperate attempt” to “evade transparency.”
“This is nothing more than a desperate attempt by the DOJ to evade transparency and accountability, and undermine the decisional independence of the nation’s 440 Immigration Judges,” stated Judge Ashley Tabaddor, who serves as president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, in an announcement to NPR.
“We are trial court judges who make decisions on the basis of case-specific facts and the nation’s immigration laws. We do not set policies, and we don’t manage staff,” she stated.
The DOJ’s suggestion that immigration judges ought to be seen as managers is “absurd,” she stated, including: “We don’t even have the authority to order pencils.”
The relationship between immigration judges and the DoJ has lengthy been a topic of debate, with the judges’ union having publicly argued that the previous ought to be separate from the latter.
Despite that public push, the DoJ has continued to say its authority over immigration judges, with former Attorney General Jeff Sessions setting quotas for immigration judges encouraging them to hurry up deportations within the identify of lowering the nation’s case backlog.
Meanwhile, since taking workplace in 2017, the Trump administration has appointed as many as 190 immigration judges, according to a July analysis by the Associated Press.
Currently, the Trump administration’s appointees account for roughly 43 % of immigration judges, with the federal government increasing the immigration bench by greater than 100 since September 2016, which is greater than double the online achieve of the less than 50 added below former President Barack Obama.
Unlike federal judges, nonetheless, immigration judges are appointed by the legal professional common and are technically thought-about workers of the DOJ, as The Times has famous. As such, representatives of the immigration judges’ union are capable of communicate publicly about any DOJ insurance policies which are thought-about to be political.
If the Trump administration does get its means in seeing the union decertified, representatives fear that transparency will take a serious hit, with one much less physique to carry the DOJ to account.
“This is a misguided effort to minimize our impact,” Judge Amiena Khan, vice chairman of the judges’ union, weighed in to The Times. “We serve as a check and balance on management prerogatives and that’s why they are doing this to us.”