DHS Broke Judge’s Orders: Work Permits Issued Despite Injunction

Judge_Andrew_S._Hanen

Federal Judge Andrew Hanen is up in arms about non-compliance with a court order blocking President Barack Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration. Hanen has issued for five immigration officials to show up for a hearing on August 19 in a Brownsville, Texas courtroom. Department of Homeland (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson is one of the five officials that must appear before the judge. The officials must explain to the judge why they should not be held in contempt of court for violating the court’s order and allowing the issuance of approximately 2,000 three-year work permits after the injunction was issued on February 16.

Judge Hanen said he would cancel the session if he is “satisfied” with the government’s actions to cancel or revoke the 2,000 three-year work permits that were issued to undocumented workers. Initially after Hanen issued the injunction the work permits were limited to a two-year duration.

Associate director for USCIS’ service center operations, Donald W. Neufeld, said that the work permits at issue had been approved before the injunction but were mistakenly not removed from a processing queue after Judge Hanen’s order.

“USCIS has already issued notices to the recipients of these three-year EADs whom it has identified, informing them that their approvals of deferred action and employment authorization have been converted from three to two years, that they will be issued two-year EADs, and that they must return the three-year EADs sent to them,” Neufeld said.

The Justice Department came forward in May to disclose the 2,000 issuances after Hanen’s order. Government lawyers said DHS’s inspector general is investigating why the three-year permits were issued despite the court injunction.

A federal appeals court panel is scheduled to hear arguments Friday on whether Hanen’s injunction should be overturned.