Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The union representing immigration judges is pushing back against the Trump administration for undermining judicial independence after the Justice Department stripped a Philadelphia judge of his authority over 87 deportation cases, reports the Washington Post.

Why it matters: This is a classic reflection of the growing rift between the Trump administration and immigration judges, who, unlike those under the judicial branch, have little protections to their judicial independence.

What's happening: The National Association of Immigration Judges filed a labor grievance this week in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' overriding of a judge’s decision and removal of dozens of cases involving undocumented immigrants.

  • Judge Steven Morley was reportedly overseeing juvenile cases which he either continued, or placed on hold due to questions over whether attorneys at the Justice Department had duly notified defendants to appear in court.

The backstory: The case that sparked the dispute involves a Guatemalan national who arrived in the U.S. in 2014 as a 17-year-old unaccompanied minor, and didn't appear before Morley. The Post reports that Morley temporarily closed the case and ordered DOJ to ensure Reynaldo Castro-Tum, whose whereabouts are unknown, had received his notice.

What they're saying: The union is urging DOJ to reassign the cases to Morely, and pleaded for judicial independence.

  • "We’re very concerned the immigration judges are simply being turned into law enforcement officers," said Laura Lynch of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, per the Post.

The federal law enforcement agency reportedly said Morley might have violated federal law and an investigation remains ongoing.

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Sen. Cory Gardner on vacant Supreme Court seat: "I will vote to confirm"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will vote to confirm President Trump's nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he announced in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The development is a win for President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It should mean Republicans are all but assured to have enough support to hold hearings for Trump's potential nominee.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Trump and Xi to give dueling speeches Tuesday at UN General Assembly

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping will address the UN General Assembly just minutes apart on Tuesday morning — with Russia’s Vladimir Putin following soon thereafter.

The big picture: Trump has promised a “strong message on China.” Xi, meanwhile, is expected to laud global cooperation — with the clear implication that it can be led from Beijing.

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