Monday, June 28, 2021
Immigration Judges are under intense pressure to mete out individualized justice while navigating long overdue dockets, strict performance quotas, insufficient resources, shifting case law, and political pressure. Their union, the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ), has attempted to voice concerns for the group but came under the additional challenge of decertification during the Trump administration. The Biden administration's EOIR has withdrawn its opposition to NAIJ's efforts to recertify as a union.
The NAIJ is the recognized representative of NAIJ for collective bargaining purposes. According it its website, its mission is "to promote independence and enhance the professionalism, dignity, and efficiency of the Immigration Courts," "to improve our court system through educating the public, legal community and media, testimony at congressional oversight hearings, and advocating and lobbying for immigration court reform," and "to protect the interests of our members, collectively and individually, through dynamic liaison activities with management, formal and informal grievances, and collective bargaining."
Among the recent battles taken on by the NAIJ is the lifting of a gag order on immigration judges and operating mode of the immigration courts during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also sought increased independence from the DOJ through reformation as an Article I court, an action supported by the Federal Bar Association, American Bar Association, and other groups.