Susan Walsh / AP
The Trump Administration makes changes to the agency that runs the country's immigration court system. This is immediately condemned by the Immigration Judges Association as a takeover.
The agency is referred to as the executive office for immigration examination an arm of the Ministry of Justice. According to the transitional arrangements announced on Friday, the Director of the Agency has the power to issue immigration appeal decisions that have not been decided within a set timeframe. In addition, a new policy office will be established within EOIR to implement the administration's immigration policy.
The head of the Immigration Judges Association accused the administration of depriving the judges of power and transforming the immigration court system into a law enforcement agency.
"In an unprecedented attempt to overturn the Immigration Court, the Department of Justice, the Executive Immigration Review (EOIR), today released a new transitional rule that will come into force next Monday and take steps to dismantle the immigration court system," said Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, in a statement. "The DOJ's action stops any transparency and ensures independent decision-making in individual cases." The total of 440 judges are employees of the Ministry of Justice and not part of the independent judiciary. The Trump administration has also set quotas for judges to expedite deportations and reduce the backlog of more than 900,000 pending cases before immigration courts.
Tabaddor said the administration is trying to focus its powers on immigration procedures.
"The new rule is a wolf in sheep's clothing," said Tabaddor.
The EOIR did not respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this week, the EOIR sent a newsletter to immigration judges with a blog post from VDare, a website against immigration that contained an anti-Semitic reference. to Tabaddor. After protesting, Justice Department officials said that some of the information contained in the newsletter had been compiled by a third party contractor and should not have been distributed.
"The Department of Justice condemns anti-Semitism in the strongest terms," Kathryn Mattingly, a spokeswoman for EOIR, told Buzzfeed.