Obama: Judge scares il­le­gals from sign­ing up for amnesty

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY AN­DREA NO­BLE AND STEPHEN DINAN

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­cused a fed­eral judge of sow­ing “fear and con­fu­sion” among il­le­gal im­mi­grants, po­ten­tially scar­ing them away from sign­ing up for Pres­i­dent Obama’s de­por­ta­tion amnesty by de­mand­ing im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials sub­mit names of tens of thou­sands of mi­grants who’ve al­ready en­rolled.

Jus­tice De­part­ment lawyers also asked Judge An­drew S. Ha­nen not to force thou­sands of at­tor­neys to take re­me­dial ethics classes — an or­der the judge is­sued three weeks ago af­ter he con­cluded that the ad­min­is­tra­tion in­ten­tion­ally and re­peat­edly mis­led him by im­ple­ment­ing part of the amnesty, even as they as­sured the court it wasn’t in op­er­a­tion yet.

“The sanc­tions or­dered by the court far ex­ceed the bounds of ap­pro­pri­ate reme­dies for what this court con­cluded were in­ten­tional mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions, a con­clu­sion that was reached with­out proper pro­ce­dural pro­tec­tions and that lacks suf­fi­cient ev­i­den­tiary sup­port,” the Jus­tice De­part­ment lawyers wrote in ask­ing for a stay.

Judge Ha­nen sched­uled a hear­ing for June 7 to let the Jus­tice De­part­ment make its case, in what’s be­come a nasty court bat­tle be­tween him­self and the ad­min­is­tra­tion. They’ve been at odds since soon af­ter Mr. Obama an­nounced his ex­panded amnesty for il­le­gal im­mi­grant par­ents in Novem­ber 2014.

Judge Ha­nen has ruled the amnesty il­le­gal, and is­sued an in­junc­tion in Fe­bru­ary 2015. But the ad­min­is­tra­tion re­peat­edly broke that or­der, ap­prov­ing thou­sands of three-year work per­mits af­ter the fact. Lawyers ad­mit­ted that more than 100,000 ap­pli­ca­tions for three-year per­mits were ap­proved be­tween Fe­bru­ary and March, de­spite lawyers telling the judge no part of the amnesty was in op­er­a­tion.

The judge has or­dered the ad­min­is­tra­tion to file a se­cret doc­u­ment with the court con­tain­ing the names of il­le­gal im­mi­grants who live in 26 states that sued to stop the amnesty. The doc­u­ment is to re­main un­der seal.

Im­mi­grant rights ac­tivists were en­raged by the or­der, and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has vowed to ap­peal.

In the mean­time, U.S. Cit­i­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices, the agency that botched the ap­pli­ca­tions in the first place, says it fears the brouhaha will pre­vent other il­le­gal im­mi­grants from sign­ing up for a two-year amnesty for Dream­ers that Mr. Obama an­nounced in 2012, and which re­mains in ef­fect even as the broader three-year amnesty has been halted.

Leon Ro­driguez, chief of the agency, ad­mit­ted there is no le­gal bar­rier to turn­ing the in­for­ma­tion over, but he said it would dent their own prom­ises they made to il­le­gal im­mi­grants to keep their in­for­ma­tion se­cret.

“The es­sen­tial pro­tec­tion that the [per­sonal in­for­ma­tion] be filed un­der seal (which, as noted, does not suf­fi­ciently ame­lio­rate the harm to USCIS) does not pro­vide as­sur­ance of fur­ther pro­tec­tions and, to the con­trary, in­vites fear and spec­u­la­tion that wide dis­sem­i­na­tion with­out safe­guards may be forth­com­ing,” Mr. Ro­driguez said in a dec­la­ra­tion filed with Judge Ha­nen.

Mr. Ro­driguez also claimed poverty, say­ing his agency is strapped for cash, and the $1.1 mil­lion it would cost to pro­duce the names of 50,000 il­le­gal im­mi­grants would spawn “back­logs” in other ser­vices for le­gal im­mi­grants.

Jes­sica Vaughan, pol­icy stud­ies di­rec­tor at the Cen­ter for Im­mi­gra­tion Stud­ies, said that was a lame ex­cuse for an agency that sets its own fees, doesn’t rely on tax­pay­ers’ money and has “socked away $1.2 bil­lion that it had skimmed off the fees paid by le­gal im­mi­grants.”

“They are still sit­ting on this money. It’s out­ra­geous enough that they di­verted this huge sum of money from le­gal im­mi­grants, but to now cry poverty is just in­sult­ing our in­tel­li­gence,” she told The Wash­ing­ton Times.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.