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Judge Demands Ethics Courses for Justice Department Attorneys over Immigration Plan Mishap

shutterstock_259685657S-300x200In a 28-page order, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen ordered ethics courses for government lawyers who appear in any of the cases involving the 26 states that sued to block President Barack Obama’s immigration plan to give 4 million foreign nationals extended deportation reprieves and expanded work permits.

In addition, the judge also ordered the administration to produce a list of approximately 100,000 immigrants who are participating in a government plan that shields them from deportation.

Judge Accuses Lawyers of Being Intentionally Deceptive

Hanen is an the center of the case filed by 26 states against Obama’s 2014 executive action aimed at protecting millions of immigrants from deportation. Hanen was assured (in person and in writing) by attorney’s from the Justice Department that nothing would be issued until the order took effect.

Hanen didn’t hide his anger when the administration granted 100,000 expanded work permits for undocumented immigrants despite his issued ruling in 2015 to temporarily block Obama’s executive action. The judge claimed that he was intentionally misled by the Justice Department lawyers who were arguing the case.

“Clearly, there seems to be a lack of knowledge about or adherence to the duties of professional responsibility in the halls of the Justice Department,” Hanen wrote in the page order. “The misconduct in this case was intentional, serious and material. In fact, it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct.”

In response to the page order, Justice Department lawyer James Gilligan told Hanen in court that the lawyers provided bad information unintentionally. Gilligan said that the lawyers either forgot that bureaucrats had already begun issuing the work permits, or they though that it was not important to the principal immigration reforms being challenged.

Gilligan said, “First, we are sorry for the mistakes that we made that led to this situation. Sorry for leading this court to believe it had been misled. Sorry for the time and energy this issue has consumed.”

Gilligan added that the Justice Department will require all 1,000 of its civil division lawyers, as well as senior management, to undergo customized ethics training within 120 days. The ethics training will proceed no matter how the court rules on Hanen’s misconduct allegation.

In response, Hanen said, “I greatly appreciate that. It’s a worthy step.”

The List of 100,000 Immigrants

Aside from the sanctioning the lawyers, Hanen also ordered the administration to produce a list of the 100,000 immigrants who received three-year extensions in early 2015, including “all personal identifiers and locators including names, addresses.”

Hanen said he would keep the list under seal until the Supreme Court rules on the fate of Obama’s immigration program. After the ruling, Hanen said he would consider requests from the 26 states to release information in the list.

If you want to learn more about the circumstances surrounding Obama’s immigration program, contact Lyttle Law Firm today. You can have a look at our website for a complete list our legal services.