Attorneys for the Obama administration acknowledged late Thursday that they had broken a Texas court’s injunction on immigration by issuing thousands of work permits, and could face possible sanctions in the case.
The acknowledgment was filed just before midnight in the Brownsville, Texas, court of U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, reports The Washington Times.
Hanen on Feb. 16 issued the injunction to temporarily block President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, ruling in favor of about two dozen states that are claiming in court that the president acted beyond his authority in issuing the order.
The Justice Department’s attorneys told the court that the Department of Homeland Security, which has been officially named as the case’s defendant, informed them on Wednesday that about 2,000 applications for three-year work programs were issued after Hanen ordered the injunction.
Further, reports The Times, the permits were allowed after Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other top Obama administration officials told Congress the program had been stopped and Hanen’s orders were being followed.
The government is working to remedy the work permits, the attorneys told the court, and Johnson has ordered an investigation into the matter.
However, The Times reported that Homeland Security officials plan to try to revoke the three-year permits and reissue them as two-year documents.
Meanwhile, Hanen was already considering sanctions after the attorneys acknowledged misleading him about more than 100,000 amnesty applications that were approved between Obama’s order in November and Hanen’s injunction in February.
The attorneys also corrected another number, saying that although they had reported 55 applications as being approved after the judge’s injunction, actually 72 had been approved.
Last week, the Obama administration surrendered documents about how it got initial processing of more than 100,000 applications wrong, but said the documents are privileged communications that neither Hanen nor Texas, the lead state in the lawsuit, should be allowed to see.
Obama’s amnesty order was an expansion of the “Dream Act,” which allows young adult illegal immigrants a two-year deportation stay and permits that enable them to work in the United States.
The expansion allowed illegal immigrants who were parents of U.S. citizens and people who have green cards to apply for the same program, and the two-year period was expanded to three years. Homeland Security almost immediately started issuing the three-year applications.
The Justice Department attorneys apologized for giving the wrong impression, and presented documents that showed the approvals were to have taken effect last November.
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