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The Policy Implications Arising From the Blanket Recusal Order of an Immigration Judge

September 09, 2014 (1 min read)

"The recent lawsuit filed against the Department of Justice by an Iranian American immigration judge, raises interesting questions regarding the use of a blanket recusal order by the Agency in the absence of a fact-specific analysis or showing of actual bias on the part of the Immigration Judge, See  Tabaddor v Holder, et al.  Immigration Judge Ashley Tabaddor filed suit in US District Court for the Central District of California last month, alleging, among other things, discrimination, retaliation and violations of her constitutional right to free speech under the first amendment.  The suit was in response to the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s (EOIR) blanket recusal order issued to her in 2012 following Judge Tabaddor's participation in a White House sponsored forum on Iranian Americans.  The complaint states that Judge Tabaddor initially received permission to attend the White House roundtable discussion, to which she was invited ostensibly because of her status as a prominent member of the Iranian American community.  Consistent with EOIR policy, Judge Tabaddor was advised that she could attend the event in a personal capacity only, with the additional  recommendation that she recuse herself from all cases involving Iranian nationals to avoid the appearance of impropriety following the event.  The complaint alleges that upon her return from the White House event, Judge Tabaddor sought clarification regarding the recommendation, which was then elevated to a recusal order.  She has complied with the recusal order to date, albeit, under protest." - Parisa Karaahmet and Cyrus D. Mehta, Sept. 8, 2014.