NILC Reacts to Federal Judge’s Demand for Dreamers’ Personal Data

May 19, 2016

Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

NILC Reacts to Federal Judge’s Demand for Dreamers’ Personal Data

LOS ANGELES — U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen today issued an outlandish order demanding that the federal government turn over personal data for thousands of immigrant youth who are protected from deportation and obtained work permits through the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The federal judge, who in February 2015 issued an overreaching, nationwide injunction to block the expansion of DACA and the implementation of another deferred action initiative, DAPA, that extends similar benefits to certain undocumented parents of American children, ordered the Justice Department to provide the names and locations of individuals who received a three-year deportation relief and work authorization before Hanen issued the injunction.

The Obama administration announced DAPA and the expansion of DACA in November 2014, including an increase in the relief period to three years from two years when DACA was originally announced in June 2012. Texas and 25 other states filed a lawsuit to block the programs in December 2014, prompting the injunction by Hanen two months later. The lawsuit is now awaiting a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Approximately 100,000 individuals who applied or reapplied for DACA between the administration’s announcement and the injunction received deportation relief and work permits for three years. Now, Hanen wants the federal government to hand over the personal information of those individuals to the court. The order would not consider the release of the information to any of the 26 states until after the Supreme Court hands down a decision.

Hanen also ordered all Justice Department lawyers who appear in court in any of the 26 states involved in the lawsuit to attend a yearly ethics course for five years before they can present cases in those states.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“This is the latest in a long line of outrageous and outsized orders from this extremist court, which has gone to great lengths to obstruct the Obama administration’s deferred action initiatives—harming millions of immigrant families and our country in the process. The clear disdain for the administration and our families inherent in Judge Hanen’s actions is further evidence that this lawsuit has never been about the law but, rather, is purely about politics.

“What Judge Hanen is demanding is tantamount to a witch hunt intended to instill fear in immigrant youth with DACA and perhaps even those who would benefit from a positive Supreme Court decision. It has no legal justification. We urge the Department of Justice to do what is necessary to protect the identities and privacy of Dreamers, whose lives could be severely impacted by this order. The February 2015 injunction has already caused so much pain for countless immigrant families. We hope the Supreme Court will issue a decisive order that puts this politically driven lawsuit to rest.”

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