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Ex-DOJ attorney: Trump criticism of immigration judges led to resignation

November 26, 2018

A former Justice Department attorney said Monday he resigned from the agency earlier this year because of President Trump’s criticism of immigration judges.

In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Gianfranco De Girolamo said the president waged a “mean-spirited and unscrupulous campaign” against the judges.

Mr. Girolamo, who became a naturalized citizen in 2015, said he left the Justice Department in July because of Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and the department’s decision to impose quotas requiring immigration judges to decide 700 cases per year.

Citing some of the criticism of immigration judges by President Trump, Mr. Girolamo said the tough talk reduced morale among immigration judges to “an all-time low.”

“I’ve long admired the independence and legitimacy that the judiciary enjoys in the United States, so I found the attacks on the judges deeply disturbing and troubling,” he wrote.

An immigrant from southern Italy, Mr. Giorlamo compared Mr. Trump to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whom he accused of spending most of his tenure “fighting off lawsuits by delegitimizing and attacking the judiciary.”

Mr. Giorlamo said he hoped to “serve this country for the long haul,” but resigned because he did not see an opportunity to make a positive difference.

“I couldn’t stand by or be complicit in, a mean-spirited and unscrupulous campaign to undermine the everyday work of the Justice Department and the judges who server in our immigration courts a campaign that hurts many of my fellow immigrants in the process,” he wrote.

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