DHS OIG Finds USCIS Didn't Intentionally Violate Injunction

By Dan Cadman on August 13, 2015

Followers of the court action in Texas know that 26 states sued the federal government over its immigration "executive actions" that proposed to give over half a million aliens "lawful status" and work permits despite absence of a statute, and proposed to do the same for approximately five million more. To the delight of those outraged by the executive branch's overreach, the presiding judge issued an injunction, restraining the government from undertaking the new expanded program, and halting the old one.

Then came news that, despite the restraining order, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services went ahead and extended the documents for a number of aliens participating in the smaller program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), after the injunction had taken effect. An irritated judge then asked for government explanations and demanded USCIS rectify the mistake.

The explanations were weak and bureaucratic foot-dragging ensued on pulling back the documents, presumably because no one really believed a member of the judiciary would do anything more than express his concerns and show a bit of pique. After all, this was the scenario that played out for many months between the executive and legislative branch, which proved to be all gas and no solid fuel.

But then the judge scheduled a hearing for senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court. Suddenly, no one could move quite fast enough to get things done, and DHS secretary Jeh Johnson — one of those supposed to appear for that contempt hearing — ordered an immediate investigation into how such a shocking thing might have occurred.

Well, now we have a report from the DHS Office of Inspector General that says that it was all bumbling and ineptitude, not deliberate. I'm not sure I buy into that; after all, even though there's a new fellow at the helm of OIG who is doing a marginally better job than the last guy, that's all relative. The prior man, who held the job for years despite never being confirmed from "acting" to permanent, had made the office a shambles and was overly cozy with DHS officials in their relentless push to circumvent obsolete notions such as borders and to make every global citizen "Americans in all but name". The OIG's reputation has been so sorely damaged over so long a time as to make even this report suspect.

But even if true, what does that tell us about an agency whose job is to control who, among the millions of alien applicants each year, is deserving of the right to live and work in the United States for the rest of their lives, while not putting the rest of us at risk through poor vetting and decision-making?