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Heavy-Handed Hanen

Anti-Immigrant Federal Judge Orders Dox Attack On 100,000 Innocent People

Yesterday, Judge Andrew Hanen, a federal judge with a long anti-immigrant record, ordered the federal government to turn over the names, addresses and “all available contact information” of over 100,000 immigrants. These specific 100,000 are a subsection of the larger DREAMer population and Defered Action for Childhood Arivals (DACA) beneficiaries. The request came in the form of a strange order that includes extensive quotes from movie scripts and outlines a conspiracy of attorneys in the U.S. Department of Justice. Unfortunately, this is reality and not the script for a new Hollywood legal thriller.

The main sanction included in Judge Hanen’s order requires the government to turn over personal contact information, including addresses, of more than 100,000 DACA beneficiaries who have received a three-year renewal or approval on their DACA status. He also threatened TO share the contact information with state authorities in one of the 26 states suing the administration to stop DAPA and expanded DACA. Either way, the goal of the order is clear: to intimidate immigrants who have received temporary protection from deportation through DACA as well as those who might soon be eligible for expanded DACA and DAPA.

Hanen’s order is related to the core legal challenge against President Obama’s immigration actions—but only tangentially. The case, US v. Texas, centers on a Department of Homeland Security directive that called for three changes to immigration policy. The first two changes are the creation DAPA and the expansion of DACA. But Hanen’s order concerns only the third change: The original DACA program–which Texas is not even challenging in the case–required beneficiaries to reapply to the program every two years, but under the new directive they would only have to reapply every three years.

Hanen’s order accuses the Department of Justice of deliberately lying about the implementation date of the policy switch from a two-year renewal period to a three-year period. His conspiracy about the Department of Justice led him to call for a separate sanction, ordering hundreds of attorneys to attend remedial courses. For more details on the disagreement and miscommunication between the Department of Justice and Judge Hanen, check out this excellent explainer from ThinkProgress’ Ian Millhiser.

But the bottom line is that this issue ultimately turns upon the specific state of mind held by specific people in the Department of Justice when they made specific statements and Hanen is choosing to punish tens of thousands of immigrants who had nothing to do with it.

This extreme order is not Judge Hanen’s first showing of anti-immigrant sentiment. He is responsible for issuing the sweeping injunction last year that is currently blocking DAPA and expanded DACA and IS being considered by the Supreme Court. Hanen also once accused federal officials of engaging in a “dangerous course of action” when they permitted an undocumented mother to be reunited with her child without facing criminal charges.

The Justice Department will likely appeal Hanen’s order to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals or even to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Fifth Circuit is a conservative court, with a history of being unfriendly to President Obama’s immigration programs. Additionally, the Department of Justice could file a motion to remove Hanen from US v. Texas because of his marked partisan motivation.

BOTTOM LINE: The goal of Judge Hanen’s extreme order is clear: to spread fear and intimidation throughout the immigrant community and to continue to use judicial activism to derail meaningful immigration action. It is the responsibility of the Department of Justice not to give in to Hanen’s fearmongering and make the personal information of tens of thousands of innocent people public.

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