Latest Biden hire an extremist who will push hard against border control

Earlier this month, it was reported that a top appointment at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is controversial immigration judge Ashley Tabaddor.

Not only has Tabaddor frequently attacked the Trump administration in the media, something not traditionally done by judges, but the Iranian-born, Los Angeles-based judge has signaled a serious preference for anti-borders policy and ethnic identity politics. Her new role in the Biden administration as Chief Counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, will place her near the very top at DHS’s most important immigration policy-making agency.

Although immigration judges (IJs) aren’t actually judges in the Article III-sense, but rather administrative employees subordinate to executive branch policy, Tabaddor has repeatedly attacked Trump White House decisions in the press in her role as an IJ union leader. This included sensible policies such as curbing IJs overuse of so-called administrative closures: a tool not authorized by regulation that allows more anti-borders members of the immigration bar to “temporarily” remove deportation cases from their docket (for years sometimes) in a way that sets up de facto amnesty.

And when IJs were forced to adopt a case-resolution quota—something which is sorely needed due to the fact that there are literally over a million unresolved removal cases currently on the books—Tabaddor attacked the decision for, among other reasons, being procedurally unfair to illegal aliens.

Among her own rulings, Tabaddor raised eyebrows in 2009 when she ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to release an illegal alien partly because they “failed” to read him his Miranda rights. Illegal aliens, however, do not have such rights under any immigration statute or the Constitution in the civil immigration context.

During the height of the Unaccompanied Alien Minor-crisis in 2014, IJ’s dockets were inundated with minors smuggled into the country by human traffickers paid for by illegal alien-parents already residing in the country. In one sweeping order, Tabaddor allowed nearly 40 such minors who absconded from their removal hearings in Los Angeles to be heard in courts closer to where they escaped to following their release from ICE agents. Generally, in such cases, IJs would order the absconding alien to be removed in absentia.

Perhaps more disturbing, however, is Tabaddor’s open embrace of ethnicity-based identity politics. She’s a self-described “leader” in the Iranian-American community and in a 2010 book review—since removed online—she appears to adopt the extremist Critical Race Theory-narrative that “whites do not exist” or are a “social construct.” Expressing hostility with the Census Bureau’s categorization of Iranians as white, she supported a “call to action” within the Iranian community to “shed” the white identity that has been “imposed” on them and to “redefine” themselves in their “true form.”

Her identity politics beliefs are apparently so strident, the Obama DOJ sought her recusal from cases involving Iranians. The Justice Department eventually settled when she sued. While all Americans enjoy the freedom of speech and association by right, we also have responsibilities when serving in important public roles, such as making sure even the appearance of bias isn’t created.

Also disturbing was Tabaddor’s lashing out against a critic of hers in 2019 by making baseless allegations of “anti-Semitism.” In one of the more blatant examples of spreading fake news, wrote Front Page Mag’s Daniel Greenfield, Buzzfeed, the Washington Post and several other outlets uncritically reported her claims that a blogger’s description of her immigration rulings as a form of “Kritarchy,” which is simply a Greek word meaning rule by judges, was anti-Jewish because judge-ruled communities were apparently present in ancient Israel. How such a comment could be construed as anti-Semitic was never explained by Tabaddor or Buzzfeed et al, nor did either mention that Kritarchies have existed elsewhere in history or that Tabaddor isn’t even Jewish—she’s a Muslim. The bizarre comment raised eyebrows among prominent Jewish commentators including David Frum.

With Biden’s immigration plans looking to be very busy over the next four years, top immigration players like Ashley Tabaddor will get prime leadership roles in sculpting and implementing U.S. immigration policy. Given the constant shifts in the world of political appointees, it’s highly possible Tabaddor gets promoted somewhere down the line to DHS’s top-spot. Congressional Republicans, America First advocates, and the public in general should be aware.


Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

Image: Screen shot from shareable video from Ivan Balogovic on YouTube

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