The Obama Administration made the effort on Wednesday to convince a Texas judge it shouldn’t be penalized for violating his order freezing new immigration permits.
Government attorneys repeatedly apologized at a hearing in Brownsville to U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen for inaccurately issuing 2,600 work permits and then making misleading statements about it. Judge Hanen froze the program after 26 states sued, and has now set a possible Sept. 4 deadline for a decision on sanctions or a contempt citation.
Government Attorney James Gilligan apologized to Judge Hanen for the miscommunications and said they were unplanned and unintentional. Hanen argued that indeed they were repeated.
The administration said they have recovered all but 12 of the 2,600 permits.
The states seek to reverse Obama’s unilateral change to U.S. immigration policy which was announced in November. The initiative is designed to shelter 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and provide them with three-year work permits.
The White House submitted reports to Judge Hanen detailing the efforts made to recover the work permits. Agents went as far as texting, calling, and e-mailing immigrants to turn in their permits. Door-to-door follow-up visits were made.
Judge Hanen, an appointee of Republica President George W. Bush, gave both sides until Sept. 4 to suggest what penalty he should impose if he decides he was intentionally misled.
The White House has challenged Hanen’s freeze order in a bid to get the program up and running before Obama leaves office. The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans hasn’t yet ruled on the request.
The case is Texas v. United States, 1:14-254, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Brownsville).