The Department of Justice will no longer evaluate its immigration judges’ performance on how many cases they hear, according to an email Chief Judge Tracy Short sent Oct. 19 to the approximately 500 immigration judges currently working for the agency.

Beginning in 2018, immigration judges were expected to issue 700 decisions per year in order to meet performance expectations, without adjustments for case complexity.

According to the email, the old performance measures have been suspended “effective immediately,” and agency leadership are currently working to develop new measures that “focus on balance and equity.”

“This week’s actions by the Department of Justice under Executive Office for Immigration Review Director David Neal are a step in the right direction toward restoring a greater measure of integrity to our nation’s Immigration Courts,” said Mimi Tsankov, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, in a news release.

“Our organization looks forward to working with management to restore a fairer process that allows judges to focus on doing their jobs properly. The performance metrics developed by the Trump administration were a violation of judicial ethics, they belong in the trash bin,” Tsankov added.

The decision could also have implications beyond the DOJ, as its judges are not the only ones who have called the quota system an unfair and inefficient metric for determining job performance.

In June, the Government Accountability Office released a report finding that a similar system at the Social Security Administration placed “too high” productivity expectations on employees and had no demonstrable evidence for the expected caseload matching standard productivity levels.

“It’s our hope that President Biden’s appointee, Acting Social Security Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi, will direct Deputy Commissioner Theresa Gruber to end the unsupported anti-claimant scheduling quota at Social Security,” said Melissa McIntosh, president of the Association of Administrative Law Judges, in a statement.

Jessie Bur covers the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees.

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