WASHINGTON (CN) – A union for U.S. immigration judges is blasting an office of the Justice Department for sending its members a news briefing that linked to a blog post containing anti-Semitic language.
“NAIJ fully supports the First Amendment and the freedom of expression it protects,” wrote Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. “However, publication and dissemination of a white supremacist, Anti-Semitic website throughout the EOIR is antithetical to the goals and ideals of the Department of Justice.”
Tabaddor addressed her letter Thursday to the director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review in the Department of Justice after receiving complaints about a morning briefing that the office sent Monday to all of its employees, including 440 immigration judges across the country.
The briefing included one blog post from the anti-immigrant website VDARE that featured photos of specific judges with a racist slur superimposed on their likeness. The images feature the word “Kritarch” used in a derogatory manner, referencing the period in ancient Israel when there was rule by judges.
Tabaddor notes in her letter that VDARE is a well-known “hate website” whose founder, Peter Brimelow, is tied to the white nationalist Richard Spencer, a self-proclaimed supporter of Nazi ideologies.
In 2014, Spencer referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as “a fraud and degenerate” and said he was “the symbol and cynosure of White Dispossession and the deconstruction of Occidental civilization.”
Brimelow, who has denied that his website is a platform for white supremacist ideals, is quoted in Tabaddor’s letter as saying in 2017: “Hispanics do specialize in rape, particularly of children. They’re prone to it, compared to other groups.”
The VDARE post promoted by the Justice Department meanwhile spoke about the Department of Justice’s recent petition to decertify the Tabbador’s union, contending that that judges qualify as managers with policy influence.
Assistant Press Secretary Kathryn Mattingly said that a contractor compiles the daily morning news briefings, and that the VDARE post should not have been included.
“The Department of Justice condemns Anti-Semitism in the strongest terms,” Mattingly said, as quoted by the Associated Press.
Tabaddor urged EOIR Director James McHenry to immediately remove the post and apologize to judges.
“The Department of Justice’s use of its authority to legitimize and provide an imprimatur of respectability to-this website under the guise of ‘news’ runs counter to American ideals of equality under law,” she wrote.
Responding to Tabbador’s letter on Thursday, VDARE posted an article with the headline: “Idiot Immigration ‘Judge’ Ashley Tabaddor Makes Crazed Attack On VDARE.com As ‘Anti-Semitic’ Because Of The Word ‘Kritarch’ (Which Is Greek).”
While the Justice Department’s union-decertification petition is not publicly available, the Department of Justice issued a statement earlier this month that said the move was specific to the role of judges.
“The role and importance of immigration judges in meeting the department’s mission and determining or influencing its immigration policies have greatly evolved over the past several years,” a representative for the office said Aug. 9. “In recognition of that evaluation, including changes in the law, the Department of Justice believes appropriate action is necessary to update [the Executive Office of Immigration Review’s] workforce relations in conformity with the law and to continue to further the department’s mission.”
On the heels of Monday’s news briefing, President Donald Trump drew fire for a tweet that referred to the American industrialist Henry Ford as “legendary.” A documented anti-Semite, Ford in the 1920s published a four-volume set of pamphlets called “The International Jew.” The title of one passage in the third volume of these pamphlets read “Will Jewish Zionism Bring Armageddon?”
Trump for years has posted quotes attributed to Ford on Twitter, including in 2014, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right,” and in 2012, “‘You can’t build a reputation on what you’re doing (sic) to do.”