Federal Judge Drops the Hammer on Obama Administration Immigration Defiance
A federal judge in the case against President Obama’s illegal Executive action on immigration has leveled some serious accusations against not only the Administration and its DOJ attorneys but senior level officials for “violating” a federal court order.
Here’s what happened. A federal lawsuit was brought by Texas and 25 other states against President Obama’s Executive action on immigration, where he “change[d] the law” without congressional approval. A federal judge issued a temporary injunction, ordering the Administration to stop providing these new, illegal benefits as the case continued.
However, the government didn’t comply with the court’s order. He’s how the court, without mincing words, described what happened:
[A]pproximately 2,000 individuals . . . were given various benefits in violation of this Court’s order after the injunction was issued. . . .
The Government has conceded that it has directly violated this Court’s Order in its May 7, 2015 Advisory, yet, as of today, two months have passed since the Advisory and it has not remediated its own violative behavior. That is unacceptable and, as far as the Government’s attorneys are concerned, completely unprofessional. To be clear, this Court expects the Government to be in full compliance with this Court’s injunction.
These are serious allegations, and equally so are the serious remedies at this federal judge’s disposal. The court noted that “it is shocked and surprised at the [Obama Administration’s] cavalier attitude” toward its lawful order and refusal to “remedy the violations of the injunction . . . some six weeks after” promising to take “‘immediate steps’” to do so.
If there is one thing federal judges don’t take to kindly to, it is being directly defied. This judge expressed that he has given the government ample time and leniency to rectify the situation. Yet the judge concluded:
[A]t some point, when a non-compliant party refuses to bring its conduct into compliance, one must conclude that the conduct is not accidental, but deliberate. If these violations have not been corrected by the end of this month, absent very compelling evidence, which this Court will be glad to consider, the only logical conclusion is that the Government needs a stronger motivation to comply with lawful court orders.
It is clear that the court is ready to hold the named Obama Administration officials in this case – Jeh Charles Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security; R. Gil Kerlinkowske, Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Ronald D. Vitiello, Deputy Chief of U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border of Protection; Sarah R. Saldana, Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Leon Rodriguez, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – “in contempt of Court” if the Administration continues to violate its order.
President Obama already was willing to circumvent Congress, ignore the Constitution, and thus far violate a federal judge’s order to uphold his Executive action on immigration, but he may have met his match. If senior level Administration officials start going to jail, it might just change things. Only time will tell what the Administration will do.
The underlying merits of this case continue on appeal with an oral argument scheduled for Friday in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. At the ACLJ, we’ve filed four amicus briefs in this case already on behalf of key Members of Congress and thousands of Americans. President Obama is not a king, and this week he just got reminded of that by a co-equal branch of the U.S. government.
Matthew Clark is Senior Counsel for Digital Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and four children in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.