A federal judge will finally get to rule on the merits of a lawsuit challenging President Obama's executive amnesty programs – a development being applauded by a group that advocates enforcement of current immigration laws.
In early 2015, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen imposed sanctions after learning that the Obama administration – in violation of the court's injunction – had approved more than 100,000 expanded applications in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. Now the 26-state lawsuit challenging Obama's executive amnesty programs is heading back to Judge Hanen to be litigated on the merits.
Ira Mehlman is a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). He recalls that in his original injunction, Hanen "strongly indicated" his belief that the president had greatly overstepped his constitutional authority.
"Now [that] he has the opportunity to rule on the merits ... what we need from Judge Hanen is a definitive ruling making it clear that the president simply can't decide that if Congress doesn't do what he wants them to do that he can go ahead and do it on his own," says Mehlman.
The Obama Justice Department is requesting that Hanen revoke the sanctions – and in an effort to appease the judge, the government recently informed Hanen it has self-imposed ethics requirements on DOJ attorneys.
"Judge Hanen was rightfully angry at the Department of Justice for just a series of basically lies that they told to him," Mehlman continues. "And in response he [told the government it was] going to have to have some kind of ethics training for the people who work for the Department of Justice. They're now claiming Don't worry. It's all okay – we've got it taken care of."
Mehlman says despite requiring this additional training, the DOJ continues to maintain that its attorneys didn't act unethically in approving the DACA applications.