August 12, 2019, 10:31 am CDT
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The U.S. Department of Justice took a step Friday to decertify the union for immigration judges by filing a petition with the Federal Labor Relations Authority.
The petition asks the authority to determine whether the union should have its certification revoked because its members are management employees who aren’t allowed to unionize, report the Washington Post and the New York Times. The union is the National Association of Immigration Judges.
Judge Ashley Tabaddor, the union’s president, disputed the contention that immigration judges are management employees. “We don’t even have the authority to order the procurement of pencils,” she told the Washington Post.
Because they are DOJ employees, immigration judges are generally banned from talking publicly, although their union can advocate for them.
The union has embraced its role in a way that has been at odds with the Trump administration. The union has opposed case quotas and has called for immigration courts to be made part of an independent federal agency. The union also criticized a ruling by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions that limited judges’ authority to dismiss cases.
ABA Journal: “Whose Court Is This Anyway? Immigration judges accuse executive branch of politicizing their courts”
ABAJournal.com: “ABA joins other legal organizations in calling for independent immigration courts”