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Union for immigration judges files a complaint against the DOJ for trying to decertify it

The DOJ had announced a change in the status of the judges, which changed the status of the union

Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A union representing immigration judges has filed a formal complaint against the Department of Justice over attempts to decertify the union.

Here's what we know

Last month, the Department of Justice filed a petition seeking to decertify the National Association of Immigration Judges. Prior to this, the union had reached out for clarification about whether the DOJ considered its judges to be "employees" or "managers." The difference in designation would have an impact on their ability to be part of a union. The DOJ's petition, which was sent to the Federal Labor Regulations Authority on Aug. 9, answered that question.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the DOJ argued that the roughly 440 judges who made up the union did not have bargaining rights "because the bargaining unit members are management officials under the statutory definition."

In an essay posted on the National Association of Immigration Judge's website, former immigration judge Jeffrey Chase called this move by the DOJ "the latest escalation of its efforts to curb judicial independence." He also said that the decertification would "simplify the removal of immigration judges whose decisions are at odds with the administration's stated immigration goals."

The complaint by the union also mentioned an email sent by the Executive Office of immigration review to the judges that included a link to a racist slur-ridden post on a white nationalist website. According to BuzzFeed, the post specifically targeted immigration judges with anti-Semitic slurs. A former senior DOJ official told BuzzFeed that the email came from a third party vendor and was not reviewed by DOJ staff.

Immigration judges have faced increased pressure due to Trump administration efforts to process suspected illegal immigrants more quickly.

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