When men and women facing persecution abroad seek asylum in the United States, who evaluates their claims? More than 500 immigration judges, represented by the National Association of Immigration Judges, an affiliate of IFPTE (the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers). But they may not be represented for long: former Attorney General Bill Barr moved to decertify the judges’ union, and alarmingly, new AG Merrick Garland has not taken any action to stop the decertification.
The NAIJ mounted a strong defense of immigrants’ due process rights in the face of political pressure, drawing the ire of the former administration. So it was probably no coincidence that AG Barr began arguing that the judges were “managers” and not entitled to union representation. The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) – which plays a similar role for federal employees to that played by the NLRB for private sector workers – accepted this argument but at the union’s request is reconsidering.
The Catholic Labor Network has joined with dozens of other labor and immigrant organizations – from the AFL-CIO to the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc (CLINIC) – to address a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging him to join their side and vindicate the union rights of the nation’s immigration judges. CLN will keep you posted as the situation develops.