The federal Texas judge who is hearing a multi-state lawsuit brought against the Obama administration's immigration amnesty program has ordered Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and four other top immigration officials to appear in his Brownsville court next month to explain why they should not be held in contempt of court for violating an injunction.
"Each individual Defendant must attend and be prepared to show why he or she should not be held in contempt of Court," Hanen said.
Along with Johnson, the heads of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are also required to attend, according to The Daily Caller.
"In addition to the individual Defendants, the Government shall bring all relevant witnesses on this topic as the Court will not continue this matter to a later date," Hanen added.
In December, 26 states, led by Texas, filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration in an attempt to stop President Obama's executive actions that would provide deportation relief to over 4 million illegal immigrants. The lawsuit claims the states would suffer irreparable economic harm by moving forward with the amnesty program.
Hanen issued an injunction on Feb. 16 to temporarily halt the program's implementation until the lawsuit could be settled, and also ordered work permits to be limited to a two-year duration. Ignoring the judge's orders, the government went on to issue 2,000 three-year work permits, and now Hanen is demanding an explanation as for why the applications for the permits were approved, reported The Washington Times.
However, Hanen said Tuesday that he would cancel the session if the government is able to limit or revoke the 2,000 work permits to his satisfaction by July 31.
The government "admitted that it violated this Court's injunction on at least 2,000 occasions - violations which have not yet been fixed. 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 wrote.
"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."
But this is not the only misrepresentation the government has made to Hanen during the case.
In March, attorneys with the Department of Justice said in a midnight court filing that between the Nov. 20 announcement of the amnesty program and Feb. 16 injunction against the program, the Department of Homeland Security had already granted three-year deferrals to more than 100,000 illegal immigrants. The problem is, DHS had already told Hanen that no illegals would be receive relief until late February. Justice Department lawyers said benefits were granted by accident and they had no intent to mislead Hanen.
On Friday, a federal appeals court panel is expected to hear arguments on whether Hanen's injunction should be overturned, reports Politico.