Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Requests Absence From DACA, DAPA Lawsuit Court Hearing
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson has asked to be excused from an immigration court hearing.
Ahead of the Aug. 19 court hearing, a motion was filed on Johnson's behalf as Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas' Brownsville Division ordered his appearance and explain why he should not be in contempt of court.
Hanen is the judge that placed the temporary injunction on President Barack Obama's November 2014 deferred action executive actions. On July 7, Hanen ruled the defendants of the case, which includes Johnson, to appear at the hearing. The latest DHS motion, however, wants to excuse him from appearing. Hanen has not issued a ruling on the motion, and, as of Aug. 5, Johnson is still expected to appear in court.
Hanen called for Johnson's appearance due to his department violating the court-ordered injunction and issued three-year Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), or work permits, to more than 2,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Obama's 2014 executive action called for the DACA program to grant three-year temporary, but renewable, stays in the U.S. instead of the two-year deferment as outlined in his June 2012 executive action, which introduced DACA. Hanen, however, issued the temporary injunction on Feb. 16, one day ahead of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency within DHS, was to start the updated DACA guidelines. As Latin Post reported, USCIS recalled more than 2,100 DACA work permits and alerted July 31 as a deadline for DACA beneficiaries to return their three-year EADs if it was distributed after Feb. 16.
The USCIS claimed it was a mistake to continue the three-year EADs. The agency, however, has distributed more than 108,000 three-year EADs on or before Feb. 16, but those recipients are not affected by the injunction.
Latino groups were not content with USCIS' mistake, as National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) Immigration Committee Co-Chair Jose Calderon said, "Government must be guided by universal values of fairness and justice if it is to carry out its principal function of serving the people. Clearly, it has failed to do so in this case, which is made all the more egregious by the fact that it is punishing a very young and vulnerable population."
According to the USCIS on Aug. 5, more than 99 percent of the "approximately 2,600 identified invalid work permits" have been accounted for, and 22 specific cases were not returned.
"Twenty-two of the approximately 2,600 recipients failed to return their work permits or certify good cause for not doing so by the deadline of July 30, 2015. As a result, those 22 have been terminated from DACA," the USCIS disclosed on Wednesday.
As Latin Post reported, then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has since become the state's governor, filed a lawsuit to block Obama's immigration executive actions. Since Abbott became Texas governor, new Attorney General Ken Paxton continued the lawsuit. Twenty-five states have since joined the Texas lawsuit, including 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.
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: email@example.com.
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