DOJ: We Legalized 100,000 Illegals by Executive Action Before Injunction

Susan Jones | March 4, 2015 | 6:21am EST
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President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, November 20, 2014.

( - President Obama's expanded executive amnesty started earlier than the administration said it would -- and before a court blocked it.

"Out of an abundance of caution," the Obama Justice Department on Tuesday informed a federal court in Texas that it started issuing three-year work permits to thousands of illegal aliens right after President Obama announced his executive amnesty on November 20 -- and before a federal court issued a preliminary injuction blocking the expanded amnesty on Feb. 16.   

The injunction barred the Obama administration from implementing "any and all aspects or phases" of Obama's expanded DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) program. That program allows certain illegal aliens to live and work in the U.S. for three years instead of two.

But the injunction did not apply to Obama's original 2012 DACA program, so when those people renewed their enrollment, they got the new three-year work permits.

Between November 24, 2014 -- four days after Obama announced his expanded amnesty -- and the court's injunction on Feb. 16, the administration says it granted three-year periods of deferred deportation (and three-year work permits) "to approximately 100,000 individuals" who signed up for the originial 2012 DACA program and were eligible for renewal.

In a March 3 "Advisory" to the federal court in Brownsville, the Justice Department recognized that there may be some "confusion" about why it issued three-year work permits before Feb. 18, the date when it planned to start accepting requests for three-year deferred action under the new (2014) DACA rules.

"Defendants nevertheless recognize that their identification of February 18, 2015, as the date by which USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) planned to accept requests for deferred action under the new and expanded DACA eligibility guidelines, and their identification of March 4, 2015 as the earliest date by which USCIS would make final decisions on such expanded DACA requests, may have led to confusion about when USCIS had begun providing three-year terms of deferred action to individuals already eligible for deferred action under 2012 DACA.

"In light of these circumstances, Defendants file this Advisory to ensure that the Court is aware of these pre-injunction actions taken by USCIS."

The Justice Department also indicated it does not plan to undo what it has done:

"It is Defendants’ understanding that the preliminary injunction does not require them to take affirmative steps to alter the status quo as it existed before the Court’s Order...For this reason, Defendants do not understand the Order to require Defendants to take affirmative steps to revoke three-year periods of deferred action and work authorization...that were issued for recipients of deferred action under the original 2012 DACA eligibility guidelines prior to the Court’s February 16, 2015 Order.

"Defendants nevertheless provide this Advisory to ensure that the Court is fully aware of Defendants’ pre-injunction actions, in light of any potential confusion from the intersection of the (injunction), the 2012 DACA guidelines that remain in place, and Defendants’ statements about when grants of DACA under the revised eligibility guidelines would begin taking place."

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