Did Obama Administration Really Accidentally Disobey Judge’s Order On Immigration?
The Justice Department’s latest filings in the immigration lawsuit brought by 26 states in the Southern District of Texas are a little hard to believe—and somewhat comical, in a way.
Back in February, Judge Andrew Hanen issued a preliminary injunction against the implementation of President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. Now, in an attempt to explain why the injunction was violated, Leon Rodriguez, director of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, has outlined in an affidavit a long list of instructions and orders he gave to implement Hanen’s order.
The main excuse given for USCIS’s issuing three-year deferrals and Employment Authorization Documents to 2,000 illegal immigrants after the injunction was in place is that its computer system failed. But fear not. Rodriguez is “taking steps, including the modification of USCIS computer systems, to further minimize the potential for human error that could lead to unintended” violations of the injunction “in future DACA cases, regardless of the circumstances.” (There is no indication whether the autonomous computer system that made these errors is named “HAL.”)
Rodriguez does admit that USCIS “should have exercised greater management oversight of the efforts to halt the production and issuance of three-year notices and EADs.” But that’s not really much of an admission—there is no question thaat USCIS violated Judge Hanen’s injunction despite Rodriguez’s self-proclaimed “clear intent to stop the approval or issuance” of these documents. Rodriguez assures the judge that USCIS will get to the bottom of this, his own failure, noting that DHS has asked its inspector general to “investigate the circumstances” of what happened.
The Justice Department filed a second affidavit, from Donald W. Neufeld, associate director for service center operations at USCIS, supporting Rodriguez. Keep in mind that the administration’s main justification for the president’s 2012 program for immigrants who arrived as children (DACA) and for his expanded 2014 program (DAPA) is that, by exercising prosecutorial discretion to legalize illegal immigrants under these programs, DHS could focus on removing the most dangerous aliens—those who are a threat to national security or public safety.
Yet Neufeld blames DHS’s unlawful issuance on “recently discovered errors in its identification and tracking of cases decided under the 2012 DACA” program. In other words, DHS violated Judge Hanen’s injunction because of tracking errors in its computer system — the same system that supposedly will enable DHS to identify the “most dangerous” illegal immigrants and distinguish them from all of the others receiving benefits under the DACA and DAPA programs. More