Obama Amnesty: 100,000 Expanded Work Permits Issued Before Court Halted Program

Samuel Corum - Anadolu Agency/AFP
Samuel Corum - Anadolu Agency/AFP

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved 100,000 applications under President Obama’s executive amnesty expansion before the official kick off date of February 18, the Obama administration reveals.

In a court filing to the federal court in Texas that recently placed a temporarily halt on President Obama’s November 20, 2014, executive amnesty — specifically the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) — the Justice Department reveals that the administration actually jumped the gun on an an aspect of the DACA expansion.

The Texas judge issued the temporary halt on DAPA and the DACA expansion on February 16. According to the Justice Department’s filing, between November 24 and February 16, USCIS granted 100,000 illegal immigrants three-year employment authorizations (EADs), instead of two year EADs. An aspect of Obama’s November 20 announcement was that time expansion on work permits.

The Obama administration stresses in its filing that this was done prior to the court’s injunction.

“Specifically, between November 24, 2014 and the issuance of the Court’s Order, USCIS granted three-year periods of deferred action to approximately 100,000 individuals who had requested deferred action under the original 2012 DACA guidelines (and were otherwise determined to warrant such relief), including the issuance of three-year EADs for those 2012 DACA recipients who were eligible for renewal,” the administration explains. “These pre-injunction grants of three-year periods of deferred action to those already eligible for 2012 DACA were consistent with the terms of the November Guidance.”

Despite taking action on the executive orders well before the beginning of the expanded programs, the Obama administration explains in its filing that it will not be revoking the three-year EADs. The administration simply wants the court to be aware of them.

“In light of these circumstances, Defendants file this Advisory to ensure that the Court is aware of these pre-injunction actions taken by USCIS. It is Defendants’ understanding that the preliminary injunction does not require them to take affirmative steps to alter the status quo as it existed before the Court’s Order,” the filing reads.

The administration added that they do not see the court’s move to halt the executive actions as cause to take steps to right the apparent misstep.

Defendants do not understand the Order to require Defendants to take affirmative steps to revoke three-year periods of deferred action and work authorization (and accompanying documents, including EADs) that were issued for recipients of deferred action under the original 2012 DACA eligibility guidelines prior to the Court’s February 16, 2015 Order,” the administration’s filing reads.


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