Immigration judges want to exercise rights to free speech

Immigration judges are taking the Trump administration to court for alleged violations of their free speech rights. The Justice Department instituted a policy this year barring the judges, even as private citizens, from speaking about immigration issues. The president of the association of immigration judges said the government cannot show that it’s more important to muzzle the judges than to allow them free speech in the public interest. “Part of the job of an immigration judge is to educate the public about the immigration courts and the role they play in society. This policy prevents us from doing this critical work, undermining public understanding of and trust in the immigration courts in the process.” (The Texas Tribune, July 1, 2020, by Julian Aguilar)

Before the new policy, immigration judges were allowed to speak publicly even about cases when they said they were not representing the Justice Department. (Aljazeera, July 1, 2020)

The judges are concerned that their unique perspective be lost as thousands of immigration cases have been cancelled during the pandemic and detained immigrants are threatened by the virus. (The Daily World, July 2, 2020)

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