Federal Judge Orders Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to Appear in Brownsville, Texas Court in Violation of Executive Order Injunction

Charles Dharapak/AP
Charles Dharapak/AP

A federal judge isn’t messing around when it comes to any non-compliance with a court order halting President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen – appointed by President George W. Bush – summoned Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and four other immigration enforcement officials to come to Brownsville, Texas and appear in court in August to explain why they shouldn’t be held in contempt of court for violating his court order.

The order requires the five immigration officials to appear at a hearing August 19th, but the hearing may never actually occur. Hanen said he would cancel it if he was “satisfied” with the government’s actions to correct work permits it issued to illegal immigrants violating the injunction Hanen had earlier ordered, according to Politico.

“This Court has expressed its willingness to believe that these actions were accidental and not done purposefully to violate this Court’s order. Nevertheless, it is shocked and surprised at the cavalier attitude the Government has taken with regard to its ‘efforts’ to rectify this situation,” Hanen stated. The judge wrote in his order:

The Government has conceded that it has directly violated this Court’s Order in [the government’s] May 7, 2015 advisory, yet, as of today, two months have passed since the Advisory and it has not remediated its own violative behavior. That is unacceptable and, as far as the Government’s attorneys are concerned, completely unprofessional, 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.

“Spokespeople for the Homeland Security Department and the White House had no comment Tuesday on the order, which applies to Johnson as well as Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana, Border Patrol Deputy Chief Ronald Vitiello. and Customs and Border Patrol Director Gil Kerlikowske.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Marsha Catron confirmed Wednesday that the agency is aware of Hanen’s order, Politico reported.

“DHS has received the District Court order and is currently reviewing it with the Department of Justice,” she stated. A Justice Department spokesman did not give any comment to Politico.

Hanen and the 26 states who have sued to stop Obama’s executive action on immigration accuse the administration of being dishonest and misleading the court about the number of illegal immigrants who were awarded work permits last November.

“The judge said he was under the impression none of Obama’s changes to the deferred action program had been implemented when legal arguments played out on the issue earlier this year. Justice Department lawyers have said there was no intent to mislead but that they regret any confusion,” Politico’ Josh Gerstein reported.

Following the clarification, DHS said the Inspector General is investigating why roughly 2,000 work permits were issued in violation of Hanen’s court injunction.

This Friday a federal court will hear oral arguments as to whether or not Hanen’s injunction should be upheld.


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