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DOJ attorney quits over Trump's 'deeply disturbing' attacks on judges

Former DOJ attorney Gianfranco De Girolamo says Trump’s attacks on immigration judges undermines the work of the Justice Department.

By Dan Desai Martin - November 27, 2018
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Trump’s relentless attacks on the rule of law drove at least one Justice Department immigration attorney to call it quits and publish a scathing op-ed explaining why.

“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 serve in our immigration courts,” said Gianfranco De Girolamo in an op-ed published in the L.A. Times.

De Girolamo, an Italian immigrant who became a U.S. citizen in 2015, was initially excited to work as an attorney-advisor at the Justice Department’s Los Angeles immigration court.

He admits he had reservations about Trump, but accepted the job in late 2016 because he believed in “the role of civil servants as nonpolitical government employees who work across administrations — faithfully, loyally and diligently serving the United States under both Republicans and Democrats.”

Then Trump’s racist vitriol toward immigrants bled into unhinged attacks on immigration judges like the ones De Girolamo worked for.

“We have thousands of judges, and they need thousands of more judges,” Trump said in a May 2018 Fox News interview. “The whole system is corrupt, it’s horrible.”

“Where do these judges come from?” Trump added.

Trump’s attacks on the American justice system came as his administration was ramping up their family separation efforts. Over the summer, Trump and his cronies ripped more than 2,500 children away from their parents in a cruel attempt to deter immigrants from coming to the United States.

In addition to using dehumanizing language to describe immigrants, many of whom were fleeing violence and seeking asylum, Trump’s rage extended to judges tasked with dealing with immigration issues.

“The demoralizing effect on immigration judges was palpable,” De Girolamo says. Judges he worked with “made clear that this was an unprecedented attack on the justice system.”

After voicing concerns to his supervisors, De Girolamo ultimately resigned, “unwilling to continue to lend credence to this compromised system.”

An immigrant himself, he refused to help a “a campaign that hurts many of my fellow immigrants in the process.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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