After serving with satisfactory remarks for two years, a federal immigration judge was surprised to learn his position would not be made permanent due to his “performance and conduct.”

The Trump-era appointee told “Fox & Friends First” Friday he believes the only explanation is politics at play at President Biden’s Department of Justice.

“The word that stuck out was performance,” Judge Edwin Pieters said of the letter he received on his termination. “I’ve been here two years. My evaluation, yearly evaluations were satisfactory. It’s either satisfactory on set satisfactory.”

“There was never no problem. No one ever mentioned any problem with my work. According to my previous evaluation, I had good temperament, good court presence.”

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Pieters was hired under the Trump administration but was not installed until 2021 after President Biden was in office. Having served his two-year probationary period, Pieters was on track to be converted to a permanent role.

However, given his performance and his roughly 50-50 decision record, Pieters reasoned it was his affiliation with former President Trump.

“Politics. Clearly politics,” he said.

“I have no doubt it was based on… I was a Trump appointee. I was the last class that actually President Trump’s administration appointed as an immigration judge.”

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The Justice Department told the Washington Times while it will not comment on the personnel changes, it would defend its process, adding that “the vast majority” of judges are converted to permanent positions.

“All decisions related to career civil service employees are based solely on performance, the presidential administration an individual was hired in has no bearing on decisions related to performance or other evaluations,” the department said in a statement to the outlet.

Pieters shared there was another incident which preceded his termination. In December, he said his supervisor contacted him about an outside complaint that some of his personal tweets and retweets made him appear as though he “could not be fair as an immigration judge.”

The judge rejected the notion, pointing to his decision record.

“I was called. I was questioned and that’s it. My Twitter account was, by December, my Twitter account was already suspended for my conservative views and I owned up to them. And said, yeah, they were my tweets,” Pieters said. “But however, look at my record, my bench record, my supervisor, the ACIJ looked at my work, and she said she even reported to headquarters… although I have political views… it doesn’t affect my decision on the bench.”

Pieters said he questioned his supervisors about the incident when terminated.

“I said, ‘So let me ask you this question. Had my tweets, if I indicated in my tweets that all of a sudden that opened the borders and let everyone in and I support the Biden administration, would I be in this predicament at this time?’ They both… gave me this dead stare. They couldn’t answer.”

“Then after a brief pause, I said, ‘So it’s political.’ They couldn’t answer.”

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Pieters’ exit comes amid the ongoing border crisis and a surging number of pending immigration cases. According to data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, there are 2,097,244 pending cases across the U.S.

In addition, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) released a new report that estimates that there are approximately 16.8 illegal immigrants in the U.S., up from 15.5 million in January 2022. Other groups have put the estimate in recent years at around 11 million, which is the most quoted number.

The report argues that the increase has been driven by relaxed border restrictions and a hiring boost post-COVID by U.S. companies as well as Biden policies that have increased “pull factors” drawing migrants north, including the use of parole and greater use of Notices to Appear. It also cites restrictions placed on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that are currently being challenged by a lawsuit and have been blocked temporarily.

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Amid the crisis, Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, called on the Biden administration to “surge” immigration judges to the U.S.-Mexico border as an alternative to releasing migrants following Title 42’s expiration.

“The president should have surged, should surge immigration judges to the border, and that person should get their case heard in days, not years,” Gonzales said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “Instead of surging 1,500 troops, surge immigration judges.”

Gonzales added: “This is America. Get your day in court.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Haley Chi-Sing contributed to this report.

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