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GOP Insiders Got Immigration Judgeships

Posted Jun 11, 2007 9:48 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Bush administration favors partisan political ties over expertise when selecting immigration judges, a newspaper concludes.

A Washington Post analysis concludes that half the immigration judges chosen since 2004 lack experience in immigration law, and at least a third have Republican ties. Those who did have experience held jobs as prosecutors or in immigration enforcement.

Among those who got the administrative judge positions were two failed nominees to the U.S. Tax Court, a lawyer who advised the GOP on election law, an anti-porn crusader, and a Republican official in Louisiana.

The Justice Department started to end its use of the civil service process to select immigration judges in 2004, the Post says, quoting congressional testimony by two former DOJ officials.

The government’s chief immigration lawyer in El Paso, a Hispanic woman, filed a lawsuit in 2005 claiming she was passed over for a judgeship in favor of two less-qualified white men.

The department revised its hiring program in April. Now the department posts jobs and conducts detailed evaluations and interviews.

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