The government has once again violated a federal court’s injunction prohibiting the implementation of President Obama’s executive amnesty plan. The action comes right before high-ranking federal government officials, including the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), have been ordered to appear in an August hearing to show why they should not be held in contempt for prior failures to comply with the injunction.
The litigation began in December 2014 when the state of Texas and 25 other states filed a federal lawsuit to halt President Obama’s amnesty plan.
A federal judge in Brownsville, Judge Andrew Hanen, issued an injunction in early February temporarily stopping the implementation of the executive amnesty plan.
In April, Judge Hanen issued a scathing rebuke directed at government lawyers and the DHS for misrepresentations made in the case, ordered the government to produce related documents, and warned the government against destroying any of this evidence, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
On July 7th, Judge Hanen ordered top Obama administration officials to personally appear in his court.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and all other federal defendants, were ordered to attend a hearing on August 19th at 10 a.m. to show why the judge should not hold them in contempt of court.
Other defendant top officials ordered to appear include: R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Sarah R Saldana, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Ronald D. Vitiello, deputy chief of U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border of Protection.
The judge said he would cancel the hearing if a report ordered filed on July 31st satisfied him that the situation had been remedied. “Otherwise, the Court intends to utilize all available powers to compel compliance.”
The government’s latest report, and supplemental report, were filed just a few weeks before the July 31st compliance date.
Lawyers for the federal government have been working on the reports, called an “advisory,” to update the judge.
When compiling the report, the government found yet another failure by the federal government to follow the federal judge’s orders. The government has had to scurry in an attempt to avoid further wrath by the judge.
A government contractor mailed approximately 500 cards extending work and stay authorizations.
The executive amnesty plan would expand from two to three years, work authorizations and stays in the U.S.
The cards had been mailed prior to the injunction but were returned because of a problem with the addresses. The contractor updated the addresses and then mailed them out again – this time after the court’s injunction.
The government assures the Court that it is taking immediate actions to address the new violations.
The government says they have attempted to remedy this new problem by sending letters to these individuals demanding that they return the cards.
In his July order, Judge Hanen warned the government if violations which had been committed as of that time had not been corrected, and corrected by the end of the month, “the only logical conclusion is that the Government needs a stronger motivation to comply with lawful orders.”
He continued, “Neither side should interpret this Court’s personal preference to not sanction lawyers or parties as an indication that it will merely acquiesce to a party’s unlawful conduct.”
The judge noted in his July 7th order that there had been “approximately 2,000 individuals that were given various benefits in violation of this Court’s order after the injunction was issued.”
He wrote, “The Court was first apprised by the Government of the violations of its injunction on May 7, 2015. It admitted that it violated this Court’s injunction on at least 2,000 occasions – violations which have not been fixed.”
The judge warned U.S. Department of Justice lawyers and federal officials that “no reasonable person could possibly consider a direct violation of an injunction a side issue.”
He also wrote, “the Court is shocked and surprised at the cavalier attitude the Government has taken with regards to its ‘efforts’ to rectify this situation.”
He noted that the situation had not been corrected six weeks after the government admitted it had violated the orders on May 7th and promised it would mend the situation.
In ordering federal officials to the August 19th hearing in Brownsville, he also ordered that “the Government shall bring all relevant witnesses on this topic as the Court will not continue this matter to a later date.”
At that time, the Court stated that the administration “has not remediated its own violative behavior,” despite the passage of two months. The judge wrote, “That is unacceptable and, as far as the Government’s attorneys are concerned, completely unprofessional.”
Judge Hanen warned, “To be clear, this Court expects the Government to be in full compliance with this Court’s injunction. Compliance as to just those aliens living in the Plaintiff States is not full compliance.”
It is unknown how the Court will take yet another violation of its orders.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and an associate court judge. Follow her on Twitter@LanaShadwick2