Reprinted from Government Executive by Eric Katz on August 12, 2019.
The Trump administration is looking to strip immigration judges of their rights to unionize, taking aim at a labor group that has vocally criticized some of the president’s major policy initiatives.
The Justice Department filed its petition with the Federal Labor Relations Authority on Friday in an attempt to decertify the National Association of Immigration Judges.
The union—originally certified in 1979—represents about 400 judges around the country. The administration is arguing they serve in management positions and are therefore not eligible to unionize.
The effort follows a similar, and unsuccessful, strategy pursued by the Clinton administration. FLRA rejected the Justice Department’s argument in 2000 that immigration judges make policy through the issuance of decisions, noting the judges do not set precedent and their rulings are often appealed and reviewed. FLRA also said the immigration court system was established specifically so judges do not maintain any management duties to enable them to focus on hearings. …