A federal judge who is demanding detailed identifying information of young immigrants who were caught up in a bureaucratic screwup is trying to intimidate the youths, immigrant advocates said Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas has ordered the Department of Justice to turn over the names of over 100,000 young immigrants who were granted three-year renewals of deferrals of deportation and work permits under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. The three year renewals should have been for two years.
Hanen is the judge who blocked President Barack Obama's immigration executive action from being implemented, a decision now on appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.
In his 28-page order, Hanen demanded DOJ give him the names of the individuals granted DACA benefits between November 20, 2014 and March 3, 2015. Hanen said in his order the lists will be sealed, but he ordered DOJ to separate the information by state and send sealed copies would be handed over to states.
Hanen said the list should include "all personal identifiers," including name, address, all contact information and the date the three-year-renewal was granted. He also asked for "A" file numbers, an immigrant's invidual identifying number in the immigration records system.
The order gives the Department of Justice until June 10 to hand over the information. Hanen also ordered the Justice department's attorneys to attend ethics classes.
Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said in a news conference call that there is no legal justification for issuing the order and releasing the personal information of thousands of teenagers and young immigrants.
"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," Hincapié said.
Hanen was not available for comment and his employees said they do not comment on ongoing cases.
Texas and 25 more states challenged President Barack Obama's immigration executive action shielding millions of immigrants from deportation and allowing them to work. Although Hanen blocked the programs from going forward, Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security, granted three-year deportation deferrals to 108,000 people when they renewed their DACA status.
The administration said last year the three-year deferrals and work permits were issued by mistake. Immigration officials have contacted recipients and gone to some of their homes to get them to replace their permits with two-year permits.
Immigration reform advocate and beneficiary Adrian Reyna, director of membership at United We Dream, said his sister is one of the people Hanen's order could affect. Reyna said he thinks the judge's order shows he may be too biased to work on the case.
"We are also calling on the Department of Justice to file a motion to remove Andrew Hanen from this case," Reyna said. "His extraordinary order proves that Judge Hanen has abandoned all impartiality in his political witch hunt against immigrants."
David Leopold, an immigration attorney, said the order "calls into question all the other decisions (Hanen) has made to date, yet another reason why the Supreme Court needs to step in and resolve this case."