Judge Orders Identifying Information for Expanded DACA Recipients –
On May 19, 2016 Federal District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen ordered the names, location, and other identifying information collected for the approximately 50,000 undocumented young people that were granted the 3-year Deferred Action and work permit. His reasoning? Judge Hanen claims that the attorneys at the Department of Justice intentionally misrepresented when they would begin accepting applications for the Expanded DACA and DAPA programs.
The individuals whose information he is requesting are people who were granted the expanded DACA between November 2014 and February 2015. The basis for the order is that “these are individuals granted benefits during the period…in which the attorneys for the Justice Department promised that no benefits were being conferred.” Though over 100,000 people received expanded DACA, the judge is only requesting the information for the approximately 50,000 people who live within the 26 states that are suing the U.S. Government over the expanded DACA program.
Who is fighting against this order?
A coalition of organizations has filed papers in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The organizations include the National Immigration Law Center, The American Civil Liberties Union Immigrant’s Rights Project, and ACLU of Texas. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund also filed its own request to the 5th Circuit to put the order on hold until after the Supreme Court decision on expanded DACA is announced. For now, they are the only groups who have taken legal action against the order, but many additional groups have spoken out against it.
Groups opposing the order have various arguments about why it will not survive appeal. Beyond legal arguments, there is a big concern over the breach of trust and privacy the order would cause. The federal government attorneys recognize that requiring the Department of Homeland Security to produce the contact and identifying information for these 50,000 people could put at risk the public’s trust in DHS’s commitment to protecting the confidential information found in immigration files.
The Department of Justice also filed a request for Hanen to halt his order. In addition to requesting the identifying information, the order also calls for annual ethics training for any attorney within the department who appears in court in one of the 26 states suing over expanded DACA. Though Hanen’s order puts into question the ethics of the attorneys, the most potential for harm falls onto the undocumented people.
What will happen next?
On June 7, 2016, Judge Hanen put his order on hold. He has scheduled a status conference on August 22, 2016 to revisit the order. Despite Judge Hanen’s decision to hold the order, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund plans to continue with the appeal in the 5th Circuit.
You can find Judge Hanen’s order here: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/files/epress/files/2016/2016-05-19_order.pdf
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