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ICYMI: La Opinión: “The Excesses of Judge Hanen”

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A new editorial in La Opinión, the nation’s largest Spanish language newspaper, examines the unprecedented nature of Federal Judge Andrew Hanen’s latest order in the United States v. Texas Supreme Court case. The order mandates that the federal government turn over the names and addresses of 100,000 immigrants living within the United States who qualify for the DACA program created in 2012 but received 3-year work permits under a 2014 Department of Homeland Security directive. Hanen’s order further demands that Texas and the 25 states, who sued to block the executive actions, can receive this list upon “showing of good cause.”

The editorial board explores not only the strange nature and dangerous implications of the order, but also the inappropriate conduct that has characterized Judge Hanen’s role in the case from the very beginning.

“With this case now in the hands of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts and the rest of the Court’s members must see this move from Judge Hanen for what it is–just the latest in a long line of bizarre and ideologically-driven statements and decisions from his bench,” said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund.

The full editorial, “The Excesses of Judge Hanen” is available online here and follows below:  

Federal judge Andrew S. Hanen did not have enough with blocking the DACA and DAPA executive orders. He has now assigned himself the role of ethics supervisor for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and manager of the personal information of over 100,000 immigrants benefiting from the actions.

The justice determined that DOJ lawyers lied to the court and that they claimed to be respecting Hanen’s suspension of the 2014 executive orders, when, in reality, permission to stay for two to three more years was being extended for youths benefiting from DACA as proposed by Obama’s DACA +.

In cases of false representation, it is normal to annul the government’s argument or to require it to pay the legal fees for the 26 states that filed a lawsuit against the executive orders. Instead, Judge Hanen ordered an onerous and absurd system of ethics courses for DOJ lawyers.

If this is unusual, it is even more so to punish someone who has not commit any faults, like the 100,000 current DACA recipients. Justice Hanen requested the names and addresses of these immigrants, which will not be made public until after the Supreme Court makes a decision regarding Obama’s executive actions.

Threatening with handing this information to the 26 suing states is an act of intimidation against these immigrants, who are seeking to regularize their stay. The argument is also based on an apparent misunderstanding.

The government said that these 100,000 people were processed according to the DACA order from 2012, which does not fall under Hanen’s decision. The DOJ admitted that 2,000 incorrect procedures were carried out, which have been already corrected since.

It is clear that Hanen, a favorite among anti-immigrant conservatives, wants to continue being the protagonist of a case that is now in the hands of the Supreme Court. To do so, he assigned himself the role of ethics guardian overseeing government lawyers and gatekeeper of private information. He illustrates this in a document in which he cites dialogue from the films “Bridge of Spies” and “Miracle on 34th Street” to support his position.

It is normal to quote legal precedents to back an argument in court but not fictional dialogue taken from Hollywood films. This is an example of a very inappropriate and irregular court order, which deserves to be appealed.

For more on Judge Hanen’s immigration bias, see the America’s Voice report: Finding Judge Hanen: How U.S. v. Texas Began.