The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General has released a report saying that Justice’s Office for Immigration Review has a widespread nepotism problem, one that has allowed EOIR employees to secure spots for their own children in a coveted student hiring program.
EOIR adjudicates immigration cases that come before the department, and it runs a Student Temporary Employment Program. According to the OIG report, that program had 200 student hires, and 32 or them, or 16 percent, were students with relatives working at EOIR.
In addition, it found that "at least 7 of the 19" members of the Board of Immigration Appeals had children working in paid student positions at EOIR from 2005 to 2012.
"We found that the hiring decisions described in this report were emblematic of a pervasive culture of nepotism and favoritism in EOIR’s student hiring," it said.
"As this report found, the culture of improper hiring started from the top, with judges and other senior officials openly advocating for the hiring of their relatives, to other EOIR employees," it said. "We further observed that some EOIR employees aggressively sought positions for their children, other relatives, or friends."
"In that environment, candidates with no connections to EOIR employees were rarely considered for STEP positions in some EOIR components and therefore stood little chance of securing such a position," it concluded.
The OIG recommended a training program to avoid nepotism in the future, and EOIR has said it intends to provide this training.