Did the Department of Justice lie to a federal court about its actions and defy a temporary injunction to grant over 100,000 illegal immigrants work status? Judge Andrew Hanen accused the DoJ of making him “look like an idiot” for taking Obama administration officials at their word, and has threatened to levy sanctions against the government for misrepresenting both factual claims and their actions:
A federal judge sharply scolded a Justice Department attorney at a hearing on President Obama’s immigration executive actions, suggesting that the administration misled him on a key part of the program and that he fell for it, “like an idiot.”
The testy court hearing was held Thursday in Texas by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen. The judge suggested he could order sanctions against the administration if he finds they indeed misrepresented the facts. …
Hanen chided Justice Department attorney Kathleen Hartnett for telling him at a January hearing before the injunction was issued that nothing would be happening with regard to one key part of Obama’s actions, an expansion of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, until Feb. 18.
“Like an idiot I believed that,” Hanen said.
The DoJ’s attorney attempted to reassure Hanen that they were doing their best to be honest, but Hanen wasn’t impressed:
Hanen then relied on that February 18th date when he waited until February 16th to issue an injunction preventing the new DAPA program and the DACA extension from starting. The 26 states had asked Hanen to issue an injunction before December 30, 2014.
But then, three weeks after Hanen issued his injunction stopping the DAPA program and DACA extension, DOJ notified Hanen that the Department of Homeland Security had issued over 100,000 three-year work permits under the new DACA guidelines.
“We strive to be as candid as possible,” Hartnett told Hanen. “It truly became clear to us there was confusion on this point,” she said.
“So you waited three weeks to tell me you were doing it?” Hanen responded.
Hartnett insisted that the 108,081 DACA reprieves since the injunction were grandfathered in under existing rules, but Hanen didn’t buy that either:
Hartnett continued to insist that the 108,081 reprieves had been granted under 2012 guidelines, which were not stopped by the injunction, and that government attorneys hadn’t properly explained this because they had been focused on other parts of the proposed action.
But Hanen pointed out that the 2012 guidelines only granted two-year reprieves and that three-year reprieves are being proposed under the program now on hold.
“Can I trust what the president says? That’s a yes or no question,” Hanen asked.
“Yes your honor,” Hartnett replied.
The twenty-six states suing the DoJ want immediate sanctions ordered, arguing that the reprieves will damage the states due to the extra work it will take in processing work permits and other government services. It sounds as if Hanen is inclined to agree. He promised a prompt response on the matter. One has to wonder whether the Fifth Circuit, which is currently reviewing an Obama administration appeal of the injunction, is paying attention to the deception taking place in the lower court, too. Don’t expect the states to be shy in mentioning it.
Speaking of not buying it, neither was Jason Chaffetz. The House Oversight Committee took the head of ICE to task yesterday for not enforcing current laws, including one in which an identified alien killed someone in a car accident: