An email sent from the Justice Department to all immigration court employees this week included a link to an article posted on a white nationalist website that “directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs,” according to a letter sent by an immigration judges union and obtained by BuzzFeed News.
According to the National Association of Immigration Judges, the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) sent court employees a link to a blog post from VDare, a white nationalist website, in its morning news briefing earlier this week that included anti-Semitic attacks on judges.
The briefings are sent to court employees every weekday and include links to various immigration news items. BuzzFeed News confirmed the link to a blog post was sent to immigration court employees Monday. The post detailed a recent move by the Justice Department to decertify the immigration judges union.
A letter Thursday from union chief Ashley Tabaddor to James McHenry, the director of the Justice Department’s EOIR, said the link to the VDare post angered many judges.
“The post features links and content that directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs and the label ‘Kritarch.’ The reference to Kritarch in a negative tone is deeply offensive and Anti-Semitic,” wrote Tabaddor. The VDare post includes pictures of judges with the term “kritarch” preceding their names.
Tabaddor said the term kritarchy is a reference to ancient Israel during a time of rule by a system of judges.
“VDare’s use of the term in a pejorative manner casts Jewish history in a negative light as an Anti-Semitic trope of Jews seeking power and control,” she wrote.
Tabaddor called on McHenry to take immediate action over the distribution of white nationalist content.
“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,” she wrote. The court, Tabaddor wrote, should immediately withdraw the email and issue an apology to all immigration judges, including those mentioned in the post.
“Separately, EOIR should take all appropriate safety and security measures for all judges given the tone and tenor of this posting,” she wrote.
After publication of this article, EOIR Assistant Press Secretary Kathryn Mattingly told BuzzFeed News “the daily EOIR morning news briefings are compiled by a contractor and the blog post should not have been included. The Department of Justice condemns Anti-Semitism in the strongest terms.”
A former senior DOJ official said that the email in question was "generated by a third-party vendor that utilizes keyword searches to produce news clippings for staff. It is not reviewed or approved by staff before it is transmitted."
By Friday afternoon, immigration court employees were informed that they would no longer receive the briefing and were told to subscribe to a DOJ wide briefing if they were interested.