The Justice Department is under fire for allegedly including a link to a white nationalist website in its daily news briefing emailed to immigration court employees on Monday.
The memos have been sent to staffers each morning by the Executive Office of Immigration Review, only this time, as first reported by BuzzFeed News, one included a link to VDare.com, which is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “anti-immigration hate website.”
In a letter obtained by HuffPost, Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, told DOJ on Thursday that the union had “received numerous complaints from judges across the nation who found the blog post offensive” and felt it signified “a hostile work environment.”
“The post features links and content that directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs and the label ‘Kritarch,’” she said. The reference to Kritarch in a negative tone is deeply offensive and Anti-Semitic. As Tabaddor explains, the term, intended as a slur in this case, refers to kritarchy, a system of judicial rule that once existed in ancient Israel.
“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 added.
The union has asked that the EOIR issue an apology “and take immediate steps to ensure that such posts or content is not enshrined as a legitimate news source” in its future publications.
On Friday, EOIR assistant press secretary Kathryn Mattingly appeared to blame the action on a contract employee from a private company that creates its briefings.
“The daily EOIR morning news briefings are compiled by a contractor and the blog post should not have been included,” she said in a statement to HuffPost. “The Department of Justice condemns Anti-Semitism and white nationalism in the strongest terms.”
In a later statement, she said EOIR had decided not to renew its contract with the company and “has ceased distribution of a daily news briefing to its staff.”
VDare has a long history of promoting racism and xenophobia, as evidenced by its blog posts.
In 2003, one entry on the website claimed that “America was defined ― almost explicitly, sometimes very explicitly ― as a white nation, for white people,” questioning whether “the new and non-white version” should even be called America anymore.
Another post published in 2006 employs anti-Semitic tropes, stating that Jewish communities have engaged in “an elaborate and highly successful group competitive strategy” to obtain “control of economic resources and political power.”
Despite the EOIR’s condemnation of hatred, according to Matthew Hoppock, an immigration attorney who obtained EOIR briefings via the Freedom of Information Act and published them online from September 2018 to March 2019, past memos have included right-wing sources such as Breitbart and the Daily Caller, both of which have published biased and, at times, false stories.
This article has been updated with an additional statement from Mattingly to reflect that EOIR has decided to cut ties with the company providing its briefings and will cease distributing them.