Susan Walsh / AP
The Trump administration made changes to the agency that governs the nation's immigration judicial system, a move immediately condemned by the Immigration Judges Union as a frontier of government.
The agency is called the Immigration Review Office and it is the hand of the Department of Justice. Under the provisional rule announced on Friday, the director of the agency will have the power to issue appeals decisions on immigration cases that have not been resolved within a specified time. It also creates a new political office within the EOIR to implement the administration's immigration policy.
The head of the Union of Immigration Judges accused the administration of trying to take power away from the judges and to turn the immigration court system into a law enforcement agency
Justice, the Immigration Review Office (EOIR) today announces a new interim rule, effective next Monday, that steps to dismantle the Immigration Court system, "Judge Ashley Tabado said in a statement. q, president of the National Immigration Judges Association. "DOJ's action suspends all transparency and security of independent decision-making on a case-by-case basis."
The new rule, first reported by the Associated Press, comes after the administration announced an effort to Immigration Judge Dessert The judges, totaling 440, are employees of the Ministry of Justice and are not part of the independent judiciary. The Trump administration also imposed quotas on judges in an attempt to expedite deportation and reduce the backlog of more than 900,000 cases pending in immigration courts.
Tabador stated that the administration was trying to concentrate its power over immigration proceedings.
"The new rule is a wolf in sheep's clothing," Tabador said, "While assembled in bureaucratic language, the effect of this regulation is to replace the political directives of one politically appointed on the legal analysis of non-political independent jurors."
EOIR did not respond to a call for comment.
Earlier this week, the EOIR sent a newsletter containing a blog post from VDare, an anti-immigration website that includes an anti-Semitic report, to immigration judges, according to Tabador. After protesting, Justice Department officials said some of the information included in the newsletter was compiled by a third-party contractor and should not have been disclosed.
"The Ministry of Justice strongly condemns anti-Semitism," Catherine Mattingly, an EOIR spokeswoman, told Buzzfeed.