A dozen Republican members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland Monday demanding to know why Trump-appointed immigration judges are being dismissed from their posts, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Your department is unfairly terminating Trump-appointed immigration judges amid a historic border crisis and rapidly growing immigration case backlog,” according to the letter led by Republican Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs.
“Your department claims that ‘decisions related to career civil service employees, including immigration judges, are based solely on performance, and the administration they were hired by plays no role in decision-making.’ But it appears to us your department’s motives are nefarious,” the letter stated.
Matthew J. O’Brien was one of two Trump-appointed immigration judges ousted in June, according to The Washington Times. He was dismissed after nearly serving his two-year probationary period on the court.
O’Brien said it’s rare to be ousted after the probationary period, according to The Washington Times, saying that those ousted are typically involved in serious harassments, such as sexual harassments.
“The dismissal of Immigration Judges on purely political grounds is unprecedented. And it should cause concern for anyone who values border security and the rule of law. Moreover, it has dire implications for the judiciary as a whole,” O’Brien told The DCNF.
“If a presidential administration begins removing administrative law judges merely because they apply the law as written, what’s to stop the same administration from purging other courts and federal tribunals? The end result is a justice system driven by desired policy outcomes, not the fair and neutral application of statutes,” he added.
The Republican congressmen used O’Brien’s case as an example in their letter, explaining that the dismissals come at a time when the immigration system is already overwhelmed.
“His termination comes at a time when the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which operates under your department, is experiencing difficulty hiring and retaining federal immigration judges. It also comes at a time when the nation’s immigration court backlog is growing faster than ever, with more than 1.5 million cases pending. This figure is the largest in American history and is correlated with the nearly 3 million border encounters seen so far under the Biden Administration,” the congressmen wrote.
The Department of Justice didn’t respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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