The National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ) was founded in 1971. We are a voluntary organization formed with the objectives of promoting independence and enhancing the professionalism, dignity, and efficiency of the Immigration Court.
The Immigration Court is the trial level tribunal which conducts administrative court proceedings to determine whether individuals whom the Department of Homeland Security charges with violating immigration law should be ordered removed from the United States or should be granted relief which enables them to remain in this country.
Structurally, the Immigration Court is housed in the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), an agency within the United States Department of Justice. Under delegated authority from the Attorney General, Immigration Judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals interpret and adjudicate immigration cases according to United States immigration laws.
In 1979, the NAIJ was designated as the recognized representative for collective bargaining for all U.S. Immigration Judges. In 2000, we affiliated with the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), and NAIJ is also known as IFPTE Judicial Council 2. The IFPTE, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO & Canadian Labour Congress, and is a well-established union representing more than 80,000 men and women in professional, technical, administrative and associated occupations. IFPTE member locals include Social Security Judges, NASA scientists, nuclear engineers, architects, and accountants.
As individual employees of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Immigration Judges are prohibited from speaking out publicly, or lobbying Congress or the Department. Only as an Association, legally constituted as a labor organization, have we been able to speak independently of the DOJ and advocate for our members’ interests.
We are actively working to improve our nation’s Immigration Courts in several ways. Our current priorities include pursing enhancement of resources for our severely under-resourced courts and increasing judicial independence through structural reform. We represent our members in collective bargaining, defend them in individual grievances, pursue remedies through arbitration and participate in on-going liaison activities with Agency management. We advocate to improve the quality of our members’ work environment and work life, to improve judicial security and to reduce work related burnout and stress.
To accomplish our goals, we have testified at congressional oversight hearings, lobbied Congress and endeavored to educate members of the media. We have participated in numerous forums on strategies to improve our court system with prestigious non-profit organizations, law schools and attorney groups.
If you have questions or would like to discuss our work further, please contact President, Judge Dana Leigh Marks, in San Francisco at 415-705-0140 or via our contact form or Executive Vice President Denise Noonan Slavin, in Miami at 786-422-8702 or via our contact form.