Judge In Obama Immigration Court Case Says Sanctions Possible
The Obama administration’s unseemly haste in seeking to issue permits to illegal aliens under the President’s related executive actions has gotten the White House into hot water with a U.S. District Court judge. U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen, who in February blocked those executive actions, recently presided over a hearing in which he interrogated Justice Department attorneys to determine whether that agency misled him into concluding that a portion of the President’s program would not be implemented before the judge made a ruling on a request for a preliminary injunction.
As a result of assurances given by the DoJ in a January 2015 hearing that the DoJ that it would not issue any documentation under the program prior to such a ruling, Judge Hanen delayed his ruling on whether to issue an injuction until February 16, 2015, when he did issue apreliminary injunction. As it happens, between those two hearings, the DoJ issued 108,000 three-year reprieves from deportation and granted the recipients of those reprieves work permits.
Last week, Hanen pointedly reminded DoJ attorney Kathleen Hartnett that she assured him in January that nothing would be happening with regard to an expansion of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) until February 18.
“Like an idiot I believed that,” the judge told her.
Hartnett repeatedly apologized to Hanen for “any confusion” related to how the reprieves and work permits would be granted. If that can be called an apology.
Hartnett argued that the 108,000 reprieves were granted under guidelines established in 2012, and that those guidelines were not stopped by the injunction. She asserted that the DoJ failed to properly explain this at the prior hearing because she was focused on other portions of the proposed executive actions.
Hanan wasn’t buying it. The 2012 guidelines only granted two-year reprieves, while three-year reprieves were the type contemplated under the program that was the subject of the January hearing.
The plaintiffs in this case are the Attorneys General for 26 states, and they called on Hanen to consider issuing sanctions against the DoJ for consciously “making representations that proved not to be true.” The state plaintiffs argued that the three-year reprieves that were already granted would cause the states economic harm by requiring the states to issue various benefits, including driver’s licenses, to immigrants who received a reprieve.
While Hartnett asserted that there was “absolutely” no basis for sanctions, Hanen did not agree, and said he would issue a ruling promptly on what action he would take against the Justice Department for violation of court rules.
Your tax dollars at work.