Biden Muzzles Top Border Officials

The Department of Justice has silenced an immigration judge union and warned it not to speak to anyone outside the DOJ. The National Association of Immigration Judges regularly features at public events, and its representatives conduct interviews with reporters, with some criticizing how the immigration system is run and significant court backlogs.

The Justice Department order, issued in mid-February, said its members will now need official approval before publishing blogs, delivering speeches, or participating in panel discussions.

Matt Biggs, president of the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers, said the order prevents union members from speaking to Congress, news media, or any professional forum. He added that the move contradicts Joe Biden’s “union-friendly” appearance.

The gagging order was addressed to union leaders Mimi Tsankov and Samuel B. Cole, and when Newsmax approached Tsankov to discuss it, she said “policy change” prevented her from addressing anything except approved “talking points.”

Sheila McNulty, the chief immigration judge at Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review, which issued the order, said that judges may be “under the impression” that they can speak freely, but that is not the case.

The latest order will likely stir up unease and could revive a row that erupted in 2022 when the union challenged a similar Trump administration decree. Two years earlier, the Trump DOJ reclassified the judges as management employees because of their role in policy shaping. The judges argued that they merely followed the law, did not create policy, and claimed their constitutional right to free speech had been impaired.

Immigration judges hear and decide on cases involving an individual’s right to say in the United States and are appointed by the US Attorney General.

Media commentators have speculated that the Biden administration is re-applying and emphasizing a new ban on public speeches by immigration judges during an election year because it wants to keep a lid on potential scandals as record numbers continue to flow across the porous US southern border.