Justice Department lawyers apologized to U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen for the Obama administration’s violation of his injunction halting executive amnesty during a hearing in Brownsville, Texas Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News.
The lawyers were appealing to the the judge after the administration erroneously issued more than 2,600 post-injunction three-year work permits to illegal immigrants. Hanen put the breaks on President Obama’s executive amnesty programs on February 16.
“We apologize for those miscommunications and regret them,” Justice Department lawyer James Gilligan said to Hanen, according to Bloomberg. “They were inadvertent and unintended.”
“But they were repeated,” Hanen reportedly responded.
Hanen had requested that DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson and other top immigration officials appear at the Wednesday hearing to answer for the violations.
After the administration embarked on an aggressive campaign to recover or terminate the mistakenly issued three-year work permits — including visits to illegal immigrants’ houses — Hanen released the officials from appearing.
According to Bloomberg the White House submitted multiple documents to the court detailing the administration’s efforts to recoup the illegal permits.
Hanen originally halted the executive amnesty programs — specifically Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — after 26 states, led by Texas, sued.
While the administration’s lawyers apologized and argued against a penalty for noncompliance Wednesday, the states pushed for the judge to require the government to disclose the whereabouts of another 108,000 three-year permits that were issued to illegal immigrants before the injunction was put in place and before the official start date of expanded DACA.
“The government should go back and unwind these benefits,” Bloomberg quoted Texas’ lawyer Angela Colmenero. “Every year those permits remain on the books, there are individuals seeking those benefits from the states.”
Bloomberg reports that Hanen has given the opposing sides until September 4 “to suggest what punishment he should impose on the Obama administration if he decides he was intentionally misled” on the issuance of three-year work permits.