Federal Manager's Daily Report

The Biden administration has been asked to reverse a Trump administration era policy decision that federal immigration judges are management officials for purposes of federal labor law, meaning they should be without union representation rights.

Last November, on a 2-1 vote—with both Republican members in favor and the lone Democrat against—the FLRA held that immigration judges qualify as management because they “influence the policy of the agency by interpreting immigration laws when they apply the law and existing precedent to the unique facts of each case.”

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That ruling, which the Trump Justice Department requested, reversed a decision of 2000 that the judges do not qualify as management officials and paved the way for decertifying their union, the National Association of Immigration Judges.

A group of Democratic senators, led by Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to reverse course, saying “it is crucial that you take steps to restore the independence of immigration judges . . . without collective bargaining rights and the protection of the NAIJ, immigration judges will be less independent and more susceptible to political pressure,” they said in a letter.

They asked for information including what plans the Justice Department has to “alter or undo” its request to the FLRA under the prior administration to decertify the union.

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