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EOIR Director expands restrictions on immigration judges' public speaking

  1. Date Announced

    Jan. 17, 2020

    The EOIR Director updates the September 1, 2017, memo curtailing the ability of immigration judges to speak publicly. That memo eliminated the speaking category of "personal capacity with use of title" (thereby leaving only strictly official and strictly personal capacities), requiring all speaking engagements to be approved by a supervising ACIJ, and prohibiting any discussion of "immigration issues" in a personal capacity. Talking points and written materials for official public speaking have to be submitted in advance and cleared.

    Though couched as a process update to the prior directive, the new policy memo reinforces the restrictions and subtly expands front-office oversight of public speaking. Under the new memo, requests to speak publicly must be accompanied by "complete talking points," as opposed to an outline, overview, or "abbreviated" talking points; and all requests to speak publicly, including those in a personal capacity, must be cleared by the "Speaking Engagement Team," consisting of the the Office of the Director, the Office of Policy, and the Office of General Counsel.

    [ID #1140]

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    Jan. 17, 2020
  3. Subsequent Action

    September 1, 2020

    A group of immigration judges (NAIJ) filed a federal lawsuit in September, 2020 claiming Justice Department rules prohibiting them from speaking in their personal capacities about their work and other immigration issues are unconstitutional. E.D. Va. denied motion for PI on jurisdictional grounds; NAIJ appealed to Fourth Circuit in August 2020. See NAIJ v. McHenry, no. 20-cv-731 (E.D. Va.); 20-1868 (4th Cir.).

    **Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**

    Immigration Judges v. DOJ - Complaint
Status: Final/Actual
Type of Action: Agency Directive
Subject Matter: Hearings and Adjudications
Agencies Affected: EOIR DOJ

Prior Policies

Subsequent Action

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