A federal judge denied Tuesday night the Obama administration’s request to allow President Obama’s executive actions on amnesty to move forward.
The Southern District Court of Texas is hearing a lawsuit from 26 states against the Department of Homeland Security over the executive actions President Obama announced in November he would be taking to extend legal status and work permits to 5 million illegal immigrants. Judge Andrew Hanen stayed Obama’s immigration plans in February – and soon after discovered that the Justice Department had misled the court about the details of the plan.
Tuesday night, Hanen denied the Justice Department’s March request to stay his injunction against the plan, meaning the latest amnesty will not move forward for now.
That’s not all. Hanen’s ruling ordered the DOJ to produce all documents and metadata regarding what the department knew about the amnesty plan, and when, in response to the department’s flub with the court.
Part of President Obama’s current amnesty plan, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), would provide amnesty for about 4 million illegal immigrants who are parents. Another section would upgrade Obama’s 2012 immigration program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), by extending the period illegal immigrants would be exempt from deportation from two to three years.
While DOJ reported to the court that the DACA upgrade would not go into effect until Feb. 18 – two days after Hanen issued a temporary injunction against it – the administration belatedly admitted in March that it had already issued the extended amnesty to 100,000 illegal immigrants.
“Due to the seriousness of the matters discussed therein, the Court will not rule on any other pending motions until it is clear that these matters, if true, do not impact the pending matters or any rulings previously made by this Court,” Hanen wrote of DOJ’s admission that it had moved forward with the program anyway.
DOJ nevertheless filed a motion days later asking the court to lift its injunction, because the freeze purportedly interferes with DHS’ “effort to effectively allocate limited enforcement resources.”
The court ruled that the administration’s actions “were indeed misleading.” Hanen denied the plaintiffs’ request to strike the government’s pleadings entirely, but left the door open to future repercussions, saying the court “may impose some other sanction in response to the misrepresentations made to the Court.”
Now the administration has until Apr. 21 to comply with the court order for information.
“At a minimum, however, Defendants have created special circumstances that necessitate further investigation,” Hanen wrote in the order. The ruling requires that DOJ hand over the documentation of all drafts and metadata regarding editing of the March advisory which misled the court on DAPA’s content – and specified that the agency cannot “destroy” or “erase” any data, just in case.