The presiding federal Judge in Texas vs. United States Andrew Hanen is not playing around. Wednesday, Judge Hanen threatened to hold Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in contempt of court.
Under Johnson’s watch, and after Judge Hanen blocked President Obama’s immigration overreach, approximately 2,000 individuals “erroneously” received work permits. To date, Johnson has yet to correct the mistake to Judge Hanen’s satisfaction.
The Associated Press reports:
A federal judge in Texas has threatened to hold Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other top immigration enforcement officials in contempt of court for not fixing problems that led to work permits being mistakenly awarded under President Barack Obama’s executive immigration action after the judge had put the plan on hold.
The Justice Department had said about 2,000 individuals had been sent three-year work authorizations after U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, temporarily blocked the immigration action on Feb. 16.
In a court order Tuesday, Hanen said government officials have yet to fix the problem. The judge also requested Johnson and four other officials attend an Aug. 19 hearing to explain why the issue hasn’t been fixed and to “be prepared to show why he or she should not be held in contempt of court.”
“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.
Secretary Johnson isn’t the only individual at risk of contempt. According to the Associated Press, R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Ronald Vitiello, deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol; Sarah Saldaña, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, have also been implicated for their refusal to correct the work authorization issuance error.
Hanen is not acting without grace though. The judge indicated the August 19 hearing would be cancelled if the federal government acts to fix the problem by July 31.
“Homeland Security spokeswoman Marsha Catron said in an email her agency and the Justice Department are reviewing Hanen’s order. Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush declined to comment. In court documents filed in May, Rodríguez had said his agency had implemented “immediate corrective measures,” including revoking the permits and modifying computer systems to prevent issuing such permits in the future,” reports the AP.
You can read the orders here:
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