Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Case of Guadalupe Gonzales or Why Monica Goodling Should Have Read Civil Service Law Before Awarding Immigration Judgeships To Loyal Bushies

On May 31 we reported on recent Immigration Judge hiring practices that seemed to give preference to loyal Bushies. June 11 The Washington Post confirmed that while Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling were in charge only loyal Bushies needed to apply for the job of immigration judge. Monica Goodling has confirmed that she stepped over the line in favoring Republicans.

Today the El Paso Times has published the story of Guadalupe Gonzalez, chief counsel for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, "a lawyer with more than 20 years of experience in immigration law and a stellar record." Since 2002 she has been passed over three times for an immigration judgeship in favor of Anglo men -- one with no immigration experience and the other two her subordinates. Gonzalez, 56, has sued the U.S. attorney general for discrimination on the basis of gender and national origin. The suit is pending in a court in Washington, D.C.

In her filings, Gonzalez claimed that since 2001, only two Hispanics were appointed nationwide for 40 immigration judgeships. The four immigration judges in El Paso are all Anglo men.

Bill Day, Gonzalez's lawyer in Washington, said that while his client does not allege that the department's selection of judges in her case was politically motivated, there is a common thread between the cases.

"The attitude of the (Department of Justice) was that the rules did not apply to them," Day said.

In Gonzalez's case, the department bypassed the competitive hiring process by using the attorney general's direct appointment authority.

In 2002, Gonzalez did apply for a posted immigration judge position, which went to Richard Ozmun, a retired U.S. Navy lawyer.

But in 2004, two other vacancies were never posted and Gonzalez was not contacted for an interview, even though she had previously expressed interest in becoming an immigration judge. These positions went to Robert Hough, assistant chief counsel at ICE, under the direct supervision of Gonzalez, and Thomas Roepke, a special assistant U.S. attorney for ICE.

The suit asks for Gonzalez to get an immigration judge position, back pay and compensatory damages. An immigration judge in El Paso makes between $112,633 and $148,031 a year, Gonzalez's lawyer said.

"In light of all the wrongdoing this case has uncovered, the Department of Justice should have settled this case a long time ago. Now it looks as though they'll have to pay the price at trial," Day said. "Being Mexican-American should not disqualify a talented and experienced lawyer from being an immigration judge."
I know what you are thinking, if she didn't apply for the 2004 positions how could she be discriminated against. The trial court has already ruled that issue in favor of Ms. Gonzales. Since the DoJ knew that she was interested in a judgeship, Monica and Kyle should have given her a chance to apply. Last year Judge Emmet G. Sullivan denied the governments motion saying that Ms Gonzales, "had identified a particular policy that has a discriminatory effect on a particular group -- (the attorney general's) direct appointment authority."

I would be surprised if Monica Goodling was concerned about Ms. Gonzales being a Mexican American. I would guess that Monica was concerned that Ms. Gonzales wasn't a loyal Bushie. After all Monica worked for Alberto Gonzales, and was involved in the selection of Rachel Paulose as US Attorney in Minneapolis. Maybe if Ms Gonzales had spent a little time and money proving she was the "right kind of Republican" she would have been selected.