DOJ Seeks To Break Up Union Of Immigration Judges

The New York Times reports:

The Justice Department has moved to decertify the union of immigration judges, a maneuver that could muffle an organization whose members have sometimes been openly critical of the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement agenda.

The department filed a petition on Friday asking the Federal Labor Relations Authority to determine whether the union, the National Association of Immigration Judges, should have its certification revoked because its members are considered “management officials” ineligible to collectively organize, according to a Justice Department spokesman.

The move suggested escalating tensions between overwhelmed immigration judges desperate for greater resources and a Justice Department pushing them to quickly address a backlog of immigration cases.

The Washington Post reports:

Judge Ashley Tabaddor, the association’s president, said she thinks the petition’s intent is to “disband and destroy the union,” which has publicly pushed for judges to have more independence and sparred with the Justice Department over a quota system it imposed.

“It’s designed to take full control of judges without having a balancing force or a balancing voice,” Tabaddor said.

Immigration judges, who decide deportation and other-immigration related cases, are somewhat unusual in that they are not part of the judicial branch; rather, they are Justice Department employees. Like other Justice Department employees, they are generally prohibited from talking publicly — except that their union can advocate for them.