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May 29, 2007


I'm starting to wonder if this is related to the shiny new eavesdropping equipment that we just bought for Mexico.

Sure hope you like this blogging gig, Marcy, since we seem to have a target-rich environment.

T o answer your question about why politicize the immigration judges, I have a few possibilities:

1) Patronage machines need to keep expanding (like the universe) or else they collapse upon themselves.
The immigration judge gigs paid a decent (for government) salary and allowed a person the prestige of haveing "judge" in front of their name.

2) More resume padding for future higher up appointment. Not unlike sending the kiddie Kampers into senior positions at DOJ and to be baby faced US Attorneys.

In a subsequent administration, that line on the resume would justify hiring in postions of even greater power.

Can we say court packing?

3) There is some weird thing they are planning to do with the immigration process that we don't know about yet--Dog help us!

Huh. How can the hiring of immigration judges be "exempt from civil service guidelines"? A position is either political appointee or civil service. It's binary.

And Berenson's response, “The issue was highly uncertain and legally complex” is pure BS. What's complex about the issue? Civil service hiring-and-firing procedures are some of the most well-established procedures around. As far as suddenly the job is political, well that's another snow job. If a job has a history of being civil service, the hiring authority can't suddenly change it to political, that process takes significant time and effort, and because civil service guidelines exist to protect the employee, there has to be a compelling reason to change it. Other than royal decree, that is.

What a mess!

Cover for periodic raids that would satisfy the anti-immigrant base, but release those employed in "critical" occupations like meat packing.

Resume padding.

Someone safe to send fake "terrorist" suspects to who wouldn't question what had happened to them in custody.

Judges that would have a known lack of empathy to reduce grants of refugee status.

Maybe they mean[t] to screen new citizens for political affiliation? I'm left wondering if ACLU membership is going to be the death of my application for naturalization...

Spakovsky once recommended that INS be tasked to cooperate with States to help verify the SS#s of those who registered. It seems the states typically do not ask for identification prior to registration, and INS did not previously check, according to a Spakovsky memo from 2001. He wanted to force them to check. Now we're seeing subpoenas.

ding ding ding

I think Scarecrow wins this

"1) Patronage machines need to keep expanding (like the universe) or else they collapse upon themselves.
The immigration judge gigs paid a decent (for government) salary and allowed a person the prestige of haveing "judge" in front of their name."

Bullseye, but I would add that the GOP counts on such patronage judges to respond appropriately to "requests" from Goopers, who have "accepted" campaign contributions in return for action on certain applications. This in turn allows the GOP to create/insulate criminal subsets within each immigration community who become the gateway to immigration. Additionally these subsets will always provide quotes to the media about the fairness and impartiality of the GOP immigration judges.

"A Justice Department spokeswoman says she’s not aware that there had ever been an internal dispute over hiring."

Let me guess: Tasia Scolinos?

Jeebus, check out the effective date on this change: EOIR Announces the Addition of Four Member Positions to the BIA

Which brings to mind two questions:
-- were they shuffling judges out of bench seats and into other roles like these at the same time as the Gonzales 8 USA's? Were these seats for which Chiara and Bogden might have been earmarked (although they didn't appear to fit the criteria)?
-- why the inconsistency in these appointments, requiring approval of DAG, versus other positions going through Sampson and Goodling?

Okay, here's a theory...unlike the other roles in DOJ, the immigration judgeships aren't necessarily best filled by hardcore Bushies if they are anti-immigration. At a winger site I noted they have been watching EOIR and immigration judgeships closely, ranting at what they believed was a conspiracy by the Bush administration to increase grants of asylum for the benefit of corporations. If this is the case and not actually winger paranois, the best immigration judges (including EOIR-BIA) would be those who were more liberal than conservative. The same site was very skeptical about EOIR Chief Immigration Judge candidate getting Senate confirmation versus appointment as an interim after Chief Immigration Judge Creppy was reassigned late spring 2006.

Great stuff Rayne, thank you.

I think there are several administration plans involved in the immigration court politicization. One aspect is along the theme in this article by voter rights attorney Gerry Hebert published at Campaign Legal Center ten weeks ago, which describes the permutations of the campaign dirty trick known as "caging", and utilization of the Dept of Justice as a parking lot for politicoes with a future as judges. Hebert is prosecuting on behalf of a TX plaintiff again, as he had done before in the TX midDecennium reGerrymander, which was yet another part of the administration's vote getting vote suppressing plans. A more recent article from BradBlog waxes eloquent on 'caging' there, referencing especially Griffin's operative work in FL2000 and now AR2007ff. While the immigration court at first blush seems tangential, a post here a while ago linked the strategem nicely with the vote getting, HAVA database cleanup process. Having worked for government I found myself in agreement astoundingly with von Spakovsky regarding the laxity of uniformity in government databases. But that is a contentious debate, very akin to the national identity card quagmire, a topic which I shall prescind from touching now. Yet, the curious echoes which I entertained concerning immigration courts' potential as innovative ways to affect political plum gifting largesse by the administration included some reflections on research we have developed over the past few years regarding some of the most strident debates in which the administration has become embroiled, mostly topics which the Republican partisans in congressed defended, namely the discussions about the future of habeas in the US, the right to privacy of communications, and the unitary executive theorem as a generic defense of all matters secret in the executive branch. The reason I think this latter triad has a relationship to the immigration courts is the caselaw. Every argument about whether it is justifiable based on the 2 AUMFs for there to be partial martial law cited cases from the immigration court; and habeas rights and Geneva convention quaintness discussions similarly drew on cases concerning international law and immigration rights. And ultimately the communications privacy dilution arguments presented by the administration similarly rested on definition of foreignness. These are complex matters, best discussed perhaps by academics with time for footnote composition.


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