This past week, a news update email to all immigration court employees included a link to a white nationalist website called VDare that disparaged sitting immigration court judges with racist and ethnicity-based criticism. Now, the Department of Justice has admitted to the error and at the same time tried to deflect responsibility, pointing to the email’s preparation by a third party contractor and insisting that Justice employees didn’t review it before it was sent. They added that the flatly condemn white nationalism, for good measure. It would for many no doubt be a lot easier to believe them if their boss — President Donald Trump — didn’t routinely peddle blatantly white nationalist rhetoric on the national and world stages.
On Thursday, assistant press secretary for the Justice Department’s Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) Kathryn Mattingly insisted:
‘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.’
News of the email’s free share of the white nationalist contents came alongside Buzzfeed reporting on a letter from an immigration judges union condemning the message. That letter, sent to the Justice Department, read in part:
‘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.’
Apparently, besides the white nationalist rhetoric, the email is meant to provide employees with a rundown of relevant recent news, and an anonymous former senior Justice Department official confirmed to Buzzfeed News that the messages are “generated by a third-party vendor that utilizes keyword searches to produce news clippings for staff” and are “not reviewed or approved by staff before [they are] transmitted.”
Trump himself has personally put a lot of pressure on immigration court judges already, so even if a gaffe, this email fits within an already established, unsettling trend. At one point, he went so far that he suggested the United States should just “get rid of” immigration court judges, apparently hoping to deprive undocumented immigrants of a chance at due process. In the real world, where his aim to dump an entire arm of the court system because it’s convenient for his policy goals hasn’t exactly materialized, his team has also sought to have judges increase the number of cases that they process.
Still, Trump has kept pushing white nationalist talking points anyway, and he’s getting minions to back him up. A new judicial pick of his even “denounced feminists, gay-rights groups and diversity efforts in 1990s, 2000s editorials,” CNN explains.
After a Texas man took his rhetoric to heart and attacked an El Paso Walmart after spouting the exact same anti-immigrant rhetoric that Trump has used, the president refused to even express a hint of “regret” when given the chance. Asked by a reporter at the White House if he had any of that, he jumped right into again committing himself to the cause of stumping about the supposed existential dangers to the United States or whatever of undocumented immigration.
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