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Immigration Judges' Free Speech Lawsuit Reactivated (Law360)

June 09, 2022 (1 min read)

Alyssa Aquino, Law360, June 8, 2022

"The Fourth Circuit has revived a challenge by federal immigration judges to a Trump-era policy barring them from speaking up about the immigration courts, after a labor official formally dissolved their union. A three-judge circuit panel had previously disposed of the free speech case — brought by the National Association of Immigration Judges — on jurisdictional grounds. But the panel held Tuesday that while the union was active — it was fighting for its survival at the time — it could still contest two Trump-era policies restricting the judges' ability to speak on immigration matters through collective bargaining, instead of in the courts. Nearly two weeks after that April 4 ruling, the Federal Labor Relations Authority decertified the union. That decertification warranted granting the union's last-ditch effort to salvage the case, the Fourth Circuit panel concluded on Tuesday. "In light of the revocation of certification issued on April 15, 2022 … we grant the motion for USCA rehearing, vacate the district court's order of Aug. 6, 2020, and remand for further proceedings as appropriate," the circuit court said in a two-page order. Immigration Judge Mimi Tsankov, the union president, said the union welcomed the Fourth Circuit's revival of its case. "NAIJ looks forward to continuing fighting the gag order in the district court," Tsankov said Wednesday in a  statement."