U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen will spare Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson from appearing before his court later this month to answer for the Obama administration’s illegal issuance of amnesty documents.
According to the Washington Times, in a court filling Tuesday, Hanen — who had threatened to require the agency chief to appear and explain the violations earlier — excused Johnson from testifying but said the administration still must answer for their errors at a hearing on August 19.
At issue is the Obama administration’s violation of Hanen’s February injunction, which stopped President Obama’s executive amnesty programs from taking effect — namely Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Hanen’s ruling was made in the matter of 26 states’ challenge of Obama’s November 20 executive amnesty.
While the order was supposed to halt all implementation, the administration — which had already started issuing expanded DACA three-year work permits instead of the acceptable two-year permits in advance of its official start date— continued to issue three-year permits in violation of the injunction.
According to USCIS, more than 2,100 three-year permits were issued post-injunction and another 500 were issued before the injunction but, due to mail issues, were re-sent after the injunction. On July 7, Hanen pressed the Obama administration to recoup the illegal three-year permits and come in compliance with the order.
The administration embarked on an aggressive effort to replace the three-year permits with two-year ones and in the process also discovered another 50 three-year permits issued post-injunction. The administration said it had either recouped, accounted for or terminated the initial 2,600 three-year permits.
“The court does not consider mere substantial compliance, after an order has been in place for six months, to be acceptable and neither should counsel,” the Times quoted Hanen’s Tuesday filing.
Although the administration has taken action on the illegally issued permits, a source of consternation remains the more than 108,000 three-year permits that were issued in advance of expanded DACA’s official start date. According to the Times, in his filing Tuesday, Hanen noted that he “remains concerned” about the outstanding three-year permits.