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Justice Dept office instructs immigration judges to remove CDC’s coronavirus warning posters

White House, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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If you’re one of the holdouts yet to get on board with the idea that the left has fully politicized the coronavirus outbreak as the next “big thing” to take down President Donald Trump, the actions of a voluntary, independent union of U.S. immigration judges is sure to change your mind.

The National Association of Immigrant Judges charged on Monday that the Trump administration is intentionally taking actions that may contribute to the spread of the COVID-19 among immigrant communities via immigration courts, Law & Crime reported.

In a message to immigration judges, the union suggested they post a coronavirus precaution flyer produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in public areas of the courts, according to the website.

In addition to instructing judges to post the flyer on the doors of the courtroom, the NAIJ offered guidance on how judges should respond to the coronavirus, to include suggesting they “take all prudent steps to reduce the number of people in court.”

Citing federal guidelines, the union reminded judges they “may limit attendance or close a hearing to protect parties, witnesses, or the public interest.”

Not content with letting the union dictate policy, the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review responded in an email to instruct court staff members to remove all coronavirus posters immediately.

“This is just a reminder that immigration judges do not have the authority to post, or ask you to post, signage for their individual courtrooms or the waiting areas. Per our leadership, the CDC flyer is not authorized for posting in the immigration courts. If you see one (attached), please remove it,” wrote EOIR Deputy Chief Immigration Judge Christopher Santoro.

NAIJ President A. Ashley Tabaddor told Law & Crime, “We received notice from our judges that those who had chosen to post the posters were told that they can not do so and the posters were literally torn down.”

Tabaddor told the Miami Herald that the office that oversees immigration courts is “failing” to safeguard the health of its employees and the public.

“Frankly it is as baffling to us why EOIR is failing to take any concrete steps, consistent with the CDC and the [U.S. Office of Personnel Management], to safeguard the health of its employees and the public,” Tabaddor said. “It appears that it is taking an ostrich approach of sticking one’s head in the sand and hoping it would all go away.”

On Monday, the NAIJ sent Santoro a letter calling for “immediate action to safeguard immigration judges, support staff, and the public’s health in response to the coronavirus.”

What’s not being reported is that the union has been at loggerheads with the Trump administration over a variety of issues, according to NPR.

And that in August 2019, the DOJ petitioned the Federal Labor Relations Authority to decertify the National Association of Immigration Judges “because the bargaining unit members are management officials under the statutory definition.”

With media coverage on the coronavirus outbreak all but nonstop, and the president being criticized by Democrats over his response to the crisis, a campaign designed to sow panic and discord appears to be well underway.

A campaign that’s paying dividends, based on the reactions to the story:

Tom Tillison


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