The Obama White House is finally beginning to feel the consequences of cause and effect where its immigration policies are concerned. Like a paralysis-inducing spider wasp laying its eggs into its prey, it has pretty much cowed our congressional leaders into crippling inactivity in the face of its onslaught of legally dubious "executive actions". But the third branch of our tripartite federal system, the judiciary, has taken action in two different directions and begun to clamp down on the administration's policies.
On the west coast, a U.S. District Court judge has ordered an end to detention of families and unaccompanied minors, spelling potential catastrophe for the administration's game of laundering such individuals through a period of lockdown, followed by resettlement with notional orders to appear at hearings, which the majority simply ignore. This is a potential game changer in the run-up to the presidential elections, because a repeated land-based tsunami of aliens proving the existence of an out-of-control southern border will not bode well for any candidate advocating anything remotely like open borders or a broad-based amnesty.
In southern Texas, another U.S. District Court judge continues moving inexorably toward a show-cause hearing on August 19, in which the administration will be forced to explain publicly why it was either unwilling or unable to comply with his order enjoining the government's plans to extend and enlarge the pool of illegal aliens being granted "lawful status" and work permits to remain in the United States indefinitely, in three-year increments.
The family detention case has the administration scrambling — they clearly understand what is at play — and, for the moment, we are seeing a ray of sunshine and honesty instead of the usual fog of obfuscation they churn out. The Washington Times reports that the deputy chief of the Border Patrol has provided a declaration accompanying a last-ditch petition to the court to reconsider its decision to end the detention. One of the things that has come out of that affidavit is the admission that last month there was a surge of families and minors mirroring the one that occurred in the summer of 2014. This isn't — or shouldn't be — news; CIS's Jessica Vaughan has reported on the continuing flow, even as the administration tried to hide it. It is a measure of the administration's desperation that they now admit as much, even as they also ramp up a second go at trying to persuade Central Americans not to make the trek because "there are no permisos". This line of argument is, of course, fatuous and insulting to the intelligence of Central Americans, whether or not they decide to try. They are smart enough to know that almost no one has actually been deported. Who needs a formal permit if you are released from detention and are so low on the list of so-called "enforcement priorities" that it's unlikely you will ever be picked up even if you do flout your immigration hearing and disappear to live and work wherever you choose?
In the matter of the injunction, there are actually two fronts: the show-cause hearing and the decision in chief, which is now at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and will either result in an order by the appellate judges lifting the injunction and permitting the executive branch to move forward with its plans or in the court upholding the restraining order (which seems more likely), in which case the administration will have to decide whether to seek a Supreme Court hearing at which they risk being shut down in the most formidable terms. But as the appellate decision plays out it will be interesting to see how the government presents its justification for not obeying the injunction when it comes to court on the 19th.
Initially, the judge ordered that senior Homeland Security officials, including the secretary, present themselves personally to explain why they should not be held in contempt. Media outlets are now reporting that the judge has excused their presence — it seems to me a shame that he has let them off the hook, given their arrogance — but he is still requiring the hearing on the substantive matter of why the government either willfully or out of negligence failed so abysmally to comply with his original order enjoining further issuance of documents.
In a court document filed in anticipation of the hearing, the 26 states that are plaintiffs in the case against the administration have laid out in excruciating detail how government officials repeatedly violated the order and continued to issue new documents even while claiming to be in compliance.
I can hardly wait to see the adroit acrobatic flips, twists, and handsprings the government's lawyers will have to undertake in order to try to help the White House and its minions wiggle out of the bind into which they have put themselves.