Original Date AnnouncedJanuary 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 Office of the Director, the Office of Policy, and the Office of General Counsel.
[ID #1140]Submission for Processing of Requests for Speaking Engagements
Effective DateJanuary 17, 2020
Subsequent Trump-Era and Court Action(s)
September 1, 2020
Immigration Judges v. DOJ - Complaint
A group of immigration judges (NAIJ) filed a federal lawsuit in 2020 claiming Justice Department rules prohibiting them from speaking in their personal capacities about their work and other immigration issues are unconstitutional. The district court denied their motion for a preliminary injunction on jurisdictional grounds; NAIJ appealed to the Fourth Circuit. See NAIJ v. McHenry, no. 20-cv-731 (E.D. Va.); 20-1868 (4th Cir.).
On June 8, 2022, the Fourth Circuit ruled that "[i]n light of the Revocation of Certification issued on April 15, 2022, by the Regional Director of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, we grant the motion for rehearing, vacate the district court’s order of August 6, 2020, and remand for further proceedings as appropriate." The Fourth Circuit's prior unpublished decision had concluded that "[u]ntil the Regional Director complies with the FLRA’s order or the FLRA itself decertifies the Union, we conclude that the Union must proceed through the administrative process provided by the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute."
**Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.**View Document