The Trump administration announced Friday that it is petitioning to decertify the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ) — a move that, if successful, could give the administration more control over where judges are sent and how many cases they’re expected to handle.
A Department of Justice spokesperson said the department is submitting a petition to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to look at whether the NAIJ’s certification of representation should be revoked, as it claims the judges meet the statutory definition of “management officials.”
A management official is defined as “any individual employed by an agency in a position the duties and responsibilities of which require or authorize the individual to formulate, determine, or influence the policies of the agency.” Such officials cannot be part of a bargaining unit like a union.
“The role and importance of immigration judges in meeting the Department’s mission and determining or influencing its immigration policies have greatly evolved over the past several years,” a DOJ spokesperson said. “In recognition of that evolution, including changes in the law, the Department of Justice believes appropriate action is necessary to update [the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s] workforce relations in conformity with the law and to continue to further the Department’s mission.”
The union is a voluntary association but is frequently vocal about the issues facing its members, often opposing some of the policies and demands placed on them. The U.S. is facing a significant backlog of cases as it has seen tens of thousands of migrants, many of them family units, crossing the border and claiming asylum in recent months.
NAIJ President Ashley Tabaddor said last month that the judge can typically have as many as 5,000 cases on their docket, and criticized “surreal decisions” by the DOJ, including the demand that they complete more than 700 cases a year.
By Adam Shaw for FOX NEWS
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