Despite the unambiguous Feb. 16 injunction from a federal judge, President Barack Obama said he will press ahead with his plans to launch his unpopular unilateral amnesty.
“We’re not going to be actually taking applications in until this case is settled,” Obama told reporters in a brief meeting Tuesday.
“But we are doing the preparatory work because this is a big piece of business,” he said.
He repeated his determination to continue preparations, despite the judge’s injunction.
“The Department of Homeland Security will continue in the planning because we want to make sure as soon as these legal issues get resolved, which I anticipate they will in our favor, that we are ready to go,” he told reporters.
However, the judge’s Feb. 16 three-page injunction clearly bars any and all amnesty preparations by Obama’s immigration appointees.
Officials “are hereby enjoined from implementing any and all aspects or phases of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (‘DAP A’) program as set out in the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s memorandum dated November 20,” says the injunction.
The judge, Andrew Hanen, may push back against Obama’s continued amnesty push.
“If the court finds DHS’s [post-Feb. 17] actions violate the injunction, it can charge the agency with contempt and award the opposing party reasonable attorney’s fees and costs,” said Dale Wilcox, executive director and General Counsel of the Immigration Reform Law Institute.
In front of the cameras, Obama claimed he was complying with the judge’s directions. “Well, keep in mind, we’re not going to disregard this federal court ruling. The law is the law in this country, and we take things a step at a time,” he said.
But that statement came just before he declared that “we are doing the preparatory work because this is a big piece of business.”
Obama’s planned distribution of four million work permits to illegals would further boost the labor supply during a period of stalled wages and high unemployment.
Since 2009, Obama has used his management authority over the immigration system to give work-permits to an extra 7.4 million foreign tourists, students and unauthorized border crossers. That huge distribution was on top of the annual inflow of one million legal immigrants and almost 650,000 blue-collar and professional guest-workers.
Since 2009, Obama has also reduced enforcement of immigration laws via a wide variety of management decisions.
Lopsided majorities of the public oppose his immigration policies and his amnesty’s impact on Americans’ jobs and wages. But public opinion and the elections results in November have no bearing on the legality of Obama’s actions.
Boosting immigration is one of Obama’s top political priorities, and is strongly supported by progressives and most D.C. journalists.
That political priority suggests that Democrats legislators and journalists will find ways to excuse law-breaking by Obama.
For example, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus dismissed the judge’s argument that Obama’s amnesty should be stopped, pending a final court decision, because it violates the long-standing Administrative Procedure Act. The judge’s “opinion only reached the not-so-sexy topic of whether the administration’s actions complied with the, yawn, Administrative Procedure Act, not whether they overstepped constitutional boundaries,” Marcus wrote Nov. 18
Also, Obama’s deputies have not explained how they have been funding their secretive preparations for the huge amnesty.
Those preparations include the lease of an office building in Crystal City, Va., and the hiring of roughly 1,000 government employees, at an estimated cost of $48 million, even before the Congress has authorized the spending.
The unauthorized spending may violate the federal Antideficiency Act, says Ian Smith, an immigration attorney at the Immigration Reform Law Institute. One possibility, he said, is that Obama’s deputies are redirecting some of the fees paid by immigrants for documents.
On Feb. 12, the Judicial Watch watchdog law firm asked members of Congress to launch a Government Accountability Office investigation to discover if the administration has redirected DHS money to improperly fund secret amnesty preparations at the DHS.
Here’s the full section from the judge’s injunction against Obama’s amnesty.
“The United States of America, its departments, agencies, officers, agents and employees and Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; R. Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner of United States Customs and Border Protection; Ronald D. Vitiello, Deputy Chief of United States Border Patrol, United States Customs and Border Protection; Thomas S. Winkowski, Acting Director of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Leon Rodriguez, Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services are hereby enjoined from implementing any and all aspects or phases of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (‘DAP A’) program as set out in the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s memorandum dated November 20, 2014 (‘DAPA memorandum’), pending a final resolution of the merits of this case or until a further order of this Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit or the United States Supreme Court.”