This column by ACRU Policy Board member Hans von Spakovsky was published July 16, 2015 by The National Review.
It seems that Jeh Johnson doesn’t relish the prospect of having to explain himself in court. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security has finally taken action to reverse the three-year work authorizations his department issued unlawfully to 2,500 illegal aliens.
DHS had issued the authorizations in furtherance of President Obama’s immigration amnesty plan. Unfortunately for Johnson, that action flouted federal-district-court-judge Andrew Hanen’s preliminary injunction against the plan. Hanen was not amused.
As I explained last week, Hanen issued an order on July 7 compelling Johnson and four other top DHS officials to appear before him in his Brownsville, Texas, courtroom on August 19 if they had not rectified this problem by July 31. On July 9, the Justice Department informed Hanen that the problem was even bigger. In addition to the 2,000 aliens DOJ had told Hanen about back in May, another 500 had received work permits after the injunction was issued.
Yesterday, the Justice Department submitted to the court copies of two new “directives” from Johnson to Leon Rodriguez, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (Rodriguez is one of the officials named in Hanen’s July 7 order.) The first directive, dated July 10, three days after Hanen’s appearance order, directs Rodriguez to mail a “Notice of Intent to Terminate” to the original 2,000 recipients of these unlawful work permits. The notice would inform the aliens that, if they don’t return their permits by July 30, DHS will terminate their “deferred action status and associated employment authorization” as of July 31 — the day DHS is required to give Hanen a status report on what they’ve done to fix the problem.
Johnson’s directive further instructs Rodriguez’s office to “dispatch its personnel to visit the homes” of those illegal aliens “who have not yet returned their three-year [Employment Authorization Documents (EAD)], for the purpose of retrieving the three-year EADs.”
The Department wants these visits to be no-drama affairs. The directive stipulates that they be conducted only “at a reasonable hour, and in a respectful and appropriate manner.” Woe unto any DHS employee who isn’t appropriately “respectful” to illegal aliens who ignore two prior letters from DHS requesting them to return these work permits, as well as phone calls making the same request — calls that were not made until after Hanen’s justifiably angry July 7 order.
In the alternative, DHS can obtain “a written certification” that the illegal alien doesn’t have the EAD because “it was lost, stolen, destroyed or for other good cause.” No mention of whether “good cause” would include having sold it on the black market.
The second directive, dated July 14, basically sets out the same plan of action to take care of the additional 500 illegal aliens who unlawfully received three-year EADs.
Demonstrating just how much the administration is in thrall of pro–illegal immigration groups like La Raza, Johnson directs Rodriguez to “communicate with immigrant advocacy organizations” that the home visits are being conducted “solely for the purposes of compliance with the Court’s order and this directive.” Heaven forbid that DHS would visit the homes of illegal aliens to actually detain and deport them as they are supposed to.
Johnson magnanimously tells Rodriguez to “inform relevant state officials” that they can contact DHS if “they wish to establish a process, consistent with privacy and other laws and policy,” by which DHS will notify the state governments of illegal aliens “in their state who have invalid three-year EADs, for the purposes of the issuance of drivers’ licenses and other benefits.”
It is clear that Johnson does not want to go to Brownsville. After doing almost nothing about this problem since early May, Johnson tells Rodriguez that he wants to be advised “on July 13, July 17, July 20, July 24 and July 27 on the status of its compliance with this directive.”
For those who want the Obama administration to actually comply with the law, Judge Andrew Hanen appears to have found a way to do it.