The National Association of Immigration Judges represents judges employed by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), a component of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Immigration Judges are executive branch employees, and are therefore subject to the supervision of the President of the United States or his designates. Most, if not all, executive branch employees are supervised, reviewed, evaluated, and managed by a numerous levels of management. No one in the Executive Branch exercises independent judgement that is not reviewed by another Executive Branch employee, if not the President himself
Immigration Judges are first supervised by the Chief Immigration Judge, Deputy Chief Immigration Judges, and Assistant Chief Immigration Judges, as well as the Attorney General, in both the exercises of their authority and administratively. Immigration Judges are not independent, like real judges, but neutral, in that they do not represent the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which brings cases to the EOIR. Aliens may not bring cases independently to the EOIR, but only in response to an action taken against them by DHS.
Now, most attorneys in the DOJ are not unionized, e.g. represented by a bargaining unit in negotiating working conditions and disciplinary action, but not wages, benefits, or other conditions of employment. In Federal unions, pay and benefits are not authorized as those are set by legislation. Represented employees are also prohibited from taking action such as strikes or work slowdowns.
In fact, almost no DOJ attorneys are represented, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys and Trial Attorneys, the two largest group of attorneys in the DOJ. Generally that is because the nature of their work, including prosecuting and disciplining labor organizations makes representation a conflict. Also, Immigration Judges are employees involved in national security work, mostly related to aliens being removed who are terrorists. Similarly, most employees involved in investigating any crime are prohibited from being represented by unions. For example, no FBI, DEA, or ATFE Special Agents are unionized. Similarly Special Agents throughout the Federal government are not unionized, e.g. Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Offices of Inspector General, etc. Generally, the nature of their work makes union representation impossible.
Since Immigration Judges are similarly involved, they should not be unionized. Sadly, they are. Since they represent the DOJ in legal proceedings, they should not be. Now the Trump Administration is moving to decertify the Immigration Judge union, something tried earlier by the Clinton Administration. This is good because of the overt and illegal political involvement by individual judges, already forbidden under the Hatch Act which prohibits Federal employees from acting politically in their positions. read more