Amid COVID-19, Trump administration reopens immigration courts, putting judges, lawyers, immigrants at risk
NEW ORLEANS — A labor union representing the nation’s immigration judges filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Trump administration, arguing that the government is stifling the judges’ rights to speak publicly on key issues, including the threat of COVID-19 to their lives and to public health.
The judges’ lawsuit is the latest signal of deep distrust between the professionals who work in the nation’s immigration courts and President Donald Trump’s administration. The lawsuit comes as the government moves to reopen immigration courts it had previously closed because of the pandemic.
Ashley Tabbador, a Los Angeles-based immigration judge who is president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said the government has released little information on how it makes decisions on opening and closing courts because of coronavirus concerns.
“If you’re not going to share information and you’re not going to tell us what standards are being used, and you’re essentially