Immigration Executive Actions News: Judge Asks If He Can Trust Obama During Latest Lawsuit Hearing
A "visibly annoyed" U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen said he would sanction the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) if information regarding President Barack Obama's immigration executive actions proved inaccurate.
Judge Hanen, of the Southern District of Texas' Brownsville Division, held a hearing on the 26 U.S. states seeking to block Obama's two deferred action programs -- the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) -- on Thursday. The hearing included talks about the federal government providing approximately 100,000 people with three-year deferment from deportation ahead of Hanen's Feb. 16 temporary injunction order, which paused DACA and DAPA's implementation pending further information.
During Thursday's hearing, Hanen wanted to determine if he was misled on aspects of Obama's immigration executive actions. He confronted DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kathleen Hartnett on a statement she made in January, stating that a provision of the immigration executive action would not happen until Feb. 18, the original date for the new DACA rules implementation.
"Like an idiot, I believed that," Hanen said, which led to an apology by Hartnett for any confusion on how the deferred action and work permits program were granted.
In regards to the 100,000 people receiving deferred action, Hartnett said the reprieves were under the 2012 guidelines. DACA was created in June 2012 by an executive action by Obama. DACA's 2012 guidelines were not impacted by Hanen's Feb. 16 temporary injunction ruling. Hanen, however, acknowledged the 2012 DACA guidelines provide two-year deferments from deportation, not three years. With the new DACA guidelines announced on Nov. 20, 2014, DACA would provide three-year deferments to eligible undocumented immigrants.
Hanen asked, "Can I trust what the president says? That's a 'Yes or No' question."
Hartnett responded, "Yes, your honor, of course."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has led the coalition of 26 states seeking to block DACA and DAPA. Angela Colmenero, a lawyer for the Texas attorney general, requested sanctions on the Justice Department for making untrue representations about the immigration executive actions. Colmenero said the 100,000 individuals who received a three-year deferment from deportation could cause economic troubles for states.
"There is absolutely no basis for sanctions here," Hartnett said. "The government is absolutely trying to do the right thing."
If Hanen was to sanction the Justice Department, U.S. taxpayers would be responsible to pay such sanctions.
The Texas lawsuit includes Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Texas officials have claimed Obama does not have the authority to issue the immigration executive action. Paxton has previously said Obama's immigration executive action is a "blatant case of overreach and clear abuse of power."
Obama's executive actions would help approximately 4.9 million undocumented immigrants to temporarily avoid deportation for three renewable years by applying for deferred action programs and providing the opportunity to obtain work permits, participating in the job market or continuing their education.
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: email@example.com.
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