The Obama administration is pushing back against a federal judge’s order sanctioning government lawyers for misleading the court about the implementation dates for executive amnesty.
In a court filing Tuesday, the Justice Department argued that District Court Judge Andrew Hanen “far exceed the bounds of appropriate remedies for what this Court concluded were intentional misrepresentations” when he ordered government lawyers to undergo ethics training and turn over the immigration records of the illegal immigrants who benefited from the government’s implementation snafu.
Writing that they “emphatically disagree” with the order, Obama administration lawyers in their filing requested a stay of the order and announced an intention to appeal.
Hanen’s May 19 order was a response to DOJ lawyers’ assertions before his court that the executive amnesty programs Obama announced in 2014 — Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — would not start until February 18, 2015.
The government, however, began approving expanded DACA applications prior to the implementation date and even after Hanen issued his initial order blocking the programs. DOJ lawyers, meanwhile, assured the court of compliance.
“The misconduct in this case was intentional, serious and material,” Hanen wrote in his May 19 order. “In fact, it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct.”
Hanen is the Texas judge who first blocked the administration’s executive amnesty programs in the case now before the Supreme court.
According to the Justice Department the judge’s order would require the government to turn over the “sensitive personal information” of some 50,000 illegal immigrants who were granted expanded DACA.
“With respect to public trust, even though the information is to be provided under seal, the production of sensitive personal information in such large quantities would be very likely to undermine individuals’ trust in DHS’s ability to maintain the confidentiality of personal information provided to it, a trust that is essential to its mission,” the government argued in its filing.
Government lawyers argued additionally that the judges’ mandate that DOJ lawyers who appear in any of the 26 plaintiff states’ courts regularly should undergo ethics training would affect some 3,000 lawyers and “irreparably” harm DOJ both in terms of lost productivity and funding.
“The estimated cost to the Department (and in turn, to the American taxpayer) in terms of direct expenditures and lost productivity would be between approximately $1 million and $1.5 million this year alone,” the filing reads, adding that the cost over five years could reach $8 million.
According to SCOTUS Blog Hanen set a hearing date on for the matter for June 7.