The Obama administration has had two notably different reactions to two injunctions related to immigration policy, which were handed down by federal judges last week.
One critic of relaxed immigration laws says that the two different responses are further proof of the administration’s desire to undermine immigration restrictions.
On Monday, the Justice Department announced that it was asking Andrew Hanen, U.S. District Court Judge in Brownsville, Texas, to lift an injunction which threatens to block President Obama’s plan to extend amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants.
Early last week when Hanen issued the injunction — in which he agreed that the 26 states that filed suit claiming that amnesty could potentially suffer a financial burden because of amnesty — the White House immediately responded.
“The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
But the administration responded less enthusiastically to a preliminary injunction issued on Friday by James Boasberg, U.S. District Court Judge in Washington D.C.
Boasberg’s injunction blocked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from holding women and children seeking asylum in detention centers while they await immigration hearings.
Nearly 70,000 “family units” were detained during last year’s massive wave of Central American immigrants.
In his decision, Boasberg sided with 10 Central American women represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The “current policy of considering deterrence is likely unlawful,” Boasberg wrote, adding that ICE’s policy “causes irreparable harm to mothers and children seeking asylum.”
The detention policy will be placed on hold until a hearing is held, but it is unclear how far the administration will go to keep it in place.
“The Department is reviewing the court’s decision,” Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Marsha Catron told The Daily Caller in a statement.
Catron did defend the policy and how it is implemented.
“ICE’s family residential centers are used as an effective and humane alternative to maintain family unity as families go through immigration proceedings or return to their home countries,” Catron said. “ICE ensures that these residential centers operate in an open environment, which includes medical care, play rooms, social workers, educational services, and facilitates access to legal counsel.” (RELATED: Obama-Nominated Judge: New Illegal Immigrants Must Be Released)
Catron did not respond to a follow-up question on when the agency plans to make a decision on whether it will challenge Boasberg’s decision.
Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, is not surprised by the administration’s two different responses to the rulings.
“Isn’t it interesting how they have different reactions according to whether a judge does something they like or don’t like?” asked Vaughan, asserting that there is “ample precedent” to be able to predict that the administration will cave to Boasberg’s decision and settle the case.
“That has been the pattern,” Vaughan said, adding that enforcement has been eroded by “a steady stream of predatory lawsuits aimed at obstructing ICE from doing its job.”
“The administration has contributed to the success of these lawsuits by declining to challenge them; conceding in settlements; withholding assistance from local enforcement partners; and issuing controversial policy statements, sometimes without sound legal foundation, that can be used by plaintiffs hostile to the government’s mission.”
Vaughan agrees with DHS’s nominal rationale for the use of the detention centers, citing recent reports that show 70 percent of border-crossing family units are no-shows to immigration status hearings.
“That is a very strong, legitimate rationale for keeping these aliens in detention,” said Vaughan.
“I don’t expect to see Secretary Johnson holding a press conference to condemn this judge’s decision, even though it will have an enormous impact on his agency’s ability to deter illegal immigration and protect US communities from having to absorb these illegal aliens,” she added.