(USA Features) Sen. Dick Durbin, head of the Judiciary Committee, on Tuesday formally requested more information from the Justice Department about former President Donald Trump’s appointees who converted to civil service jobs with an immigration department inside the agency.
In a letter to the DoJ, Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, asked for information about Trump political appointees who were summarily allowed to convert to career jobs within the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which is an influential DoJ division that conducts deportation and removal proceedings in immigration courts around the U.S.
“While I am aware that such conversions have occurred at multiple DOJ components, I took particular note of multiple completed conversions at EOIR,” Durbin wrote.
“Any such conversions to civil service positions at EOIR deserve substantial scrutiny given the Trump Administration’s pernicious attempts to implement and enforce an ideological agenda by politicizing the immigration court system,” Durbin said in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, which was leaked to NBC News.
Such a process is called “burrowing,” an indication that such conversions have been granted prior to the Trump administration.
“As you are aware, problematic conversions can undermine the nonpartisan nature of the federal government’s career workforce, particularly when individuals convert to high-level civil service positions from political postings,” Durbin continued.
“In addition to raising the specter of a politicized career workforce, such situations also call into question the fairness of the civil service hiring process,” the Illinois Democrat added.
Durbin said he wanted the names of all Trump political appointees now working civil service positions at the DoJ by May 10. He also is requesting a complete list of political appointees that the Justice Department under Trump applied with the Office of Personnel Management for authorization to convert them to civil service positions except for those who are serving in positions that are not overseen by the EOIR.
It isn’t clear what Durbin intends to do if he is provided the names of the appointees.