Testy exchange in hearing over amnesty-by-executive-memo plan
A federal judge has bluntly asked a Justice Department attorney whether or not President Obama and federal officials can be believed regarding the administration’s executive-ordered plan to delay deportation for up to 5 million illegal aliens.
The testy confrontation came in a federal court in Texas Thursday where U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who previously issued a temporary injunction halting Obama’s plan, is presiding over a lawsuit brought by 26 states.
“I can trust what Secretary [Jeh] Johnson says … what President Obama says?” Hanen asked, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Fox News reported the judge even went further, instructing Justice Department attorney Kathleen Hartnett, “That’s a yes or no question.”
She responded, “Yes, your honor.”
Hanen called the hearing after ordering in February a halt to any actions related to Obama’s executive action until a full trial or a further order from him.
The issue was whether or not the Justice Department misled the judge by claiming that deportation reprieves would not go forward before he made a ruling. It turned out that federal officials had delayed deportation for 108,000 people for three years and granted them work permits.
The administration had argued the reprieves were granted under a 2012 program that was not impacted by Hanen’s order. But the 2012 program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, granted only two-year reprieves, while Obama’s November order allows three-year deferrals.
Hartnett told the judge “government attorneys hadn’t properly explained this because they had been focused on other parts of the proposed action,” Fox reported.
Hanen remained skeptical, and it was then he asked, “Can I trust what the president says?”
The states that brought the lawsuit had asked for sanctions against the federal government because of the misleading statements. Angela Colmenero, a lawyer from Texas, said the federal government provided “representations” that eventually proved untrue or “less than forthcoming.”
Fox News reported Hanen “chided” Hartness for saying “before the injunction was issued that nothing would be happening with regard” to the deferrals.
“Like an idiot, I believed that,” Hanen said.
The Obama administration, however, has made other statements that appear to conflict with a good-faith effort to follow Hanen’s order.
WND reported when Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, who has his own case against Obama’s executive immigration orders pending at an appeals court in Washington, asked for a hearing for the government to explain why it apparently is refusing to abide by Hanen’s order.
A notice and recommendation was filed by attorney Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch on behalf of Arpaio.
“Several reports indicate that the executive branch under the Obama administration has not complied with this court’s temporary injunction, but continues full-speed to implement a grant of amnesty and related benefits to approximately 5 million citizens of foreign countries who are illegally in the United States under the defendants’ November 20, 2014, executive action programs implemented by several memoranda issued by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson,” the filing explains.
The brief is accompanied by a motion seeking “further leave” of the court to file the request.
It explains: “If the defendants have in fact halted implementation of the programs in compliance with the court’s temporary injunction, the opportunity to assure the court and other observers of this may be afforded by the court asking for a response on whether the reports of continued implementation are accurate and whether the injunction is being complied with.”
Klayman’s filing also noted Obama’s statement at a town hall meeting in Miami Feb. 25 that he won’t be deterred by “one federal judge” on immigration.
Obama, according to the Washington Times, “told a Miami crowd that he will move ahead with his executive action on immigration and vowed that his administration will become even more aggressive in the weeks and months to come.”
Klayman’s filing also noted Obama said: “This is just one federal judge. We have appealed it very aggressively. We’re going to be as aggressive as we can.”
Wrote Klayman: “The Obama administration is continuing to signal not only its disagreement with the court’s order, which is its right, but beyond that its non-compliance with the court’s order.”
The attorney also noted a report from the government watchdog Judicial Watch that said “a source within the U.S. government contracting industry” said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “is continuing at full speed to implement the ‘deferred action’ programs created on November 20, 2014.”
“In short,” Klayman told the court, “President Obama’s defiant pledge in Miami, Florida, on February 25, 2015, to move forward aggressively with implementation of his deferred action amnesty by executive over-reach … more than suggests that the Obama administration is continuing to implement the executive action amnesty in defiance of the court’s temporary injunction.
“Given the strong reports that DHS is continuing to implement the programs that the court enjoined, the court should issue an order to show cause and call for clarification and assurance from the defendants that they are and will comply with the court’s temporary injunction, and if not take immediate remedial actions to [ensure] that the order is being complied with.”
The Obama administration’s action “to expend taxpayers money in violation of this court’s temporary injunction order would be another affront to the rule of law,” he wrote.
Written by BOB UNRUH
Read more at WND