Judge Hanen asks whether he can believe President Obama

A very contentious court proceeding took place in Brownsville, Texas March 19th as the Justice Department faced off against U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen over the injunction preventing the Executive Action to expand the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

At particular issue is whether the Obama Administration began providing promised protections under the expanded program before the given program launch date of February 18.

During a sometimes testy court hearing, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen went back and forth with the Justice Department over whether it had mislead him into believing that a key part of Obama’s program would not be implemented before he made a ruling on a request for a preliminary injunction. In fact, federal officials had given more than 108,000 people three-year reprieves from deportation before that date. – via the AP.

Judge Hanen had ire for Justice Department attorney Kathleen Hartnett for having promised that there would be no action until Feb. 18, to which Hartnett said “We strive to be as candid as possible. It truly became clear to us there was confusion on this point.” The Justice Department contends that the 108,081 people who received three year reprieves did so under the original 2012 DACA program, despite the original version only providing two year reprieves. This discrepancy, which seems to be rather simple to prove/disprove, has lead the 26 states which are leading the lawsuit to stop the Executive Action to request sanctions against the Justice Department:

Angela Colmenero, lead attorney for the 26 states who allege Obama’s orders were unconstitutional, asked Hanen to implement sanctions against the Justice Department, based on the fact that some of the illegal immigrants may have received undue benefits as a result of their inclusion in the federal program. Hartnett criticized the states’ request. – via the International Business Times

‘There is absolutely no basis for sanctions here,’ Hartnett said. ‘The government is absolutely trying to do the right thing.’

It is unclear if by “the right thing” the Justice Department means following and implementing laws in any way that they see fit, so long as the intended outcome is achieved. Like a dictatorship or monarchy, after all. Judge Hanen once said that the Department of Homeland Security “should enforce the laws of the United States — not break them”. Perhaps the Justice Department and Obama Administration should do the same thing.

‘Can I trust what the President says? That’s a yes or no question,’ Hanen asked.

[AP][International Business Times][LA Times][Photo cred. The Guardian]