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Sen. Cruz to Sec. Johnson: Do you Intend to Abide by the Federal Court Order?

Sends letter to DHS Sec. Johnson regarding implementation of executive amnesty

February 24, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson questioning whether the Obama Administration plans to comply with the court's injunction to stop President Obama's illegal amnesty in light of President Obama's public comments that DHS would "continue in the planning" of activities the court issued a cease and desist order to stop.

"Violating an unambiguous federal court order by defying its instructions to cease and desist a particular activity would represent a significant breach of your authority, and would be an escalation in abuse of our separation of powers. For a President and his cabinet to telegraph intent to violate a federal court order requires additional scrutiny from Congress," Sen. Cruz said.

Sen. Cruz requested the following information:

1) The precise DAPA program-related and DACA program expansion-related actions, procedures, processes, and/or preparations the Administration intends to continue to implement despite the current federal court order;

2) The specific sources of funding the Administration intends to use to continue to implement the above actions, procedures, processes, and/or preparations, including indications as to whether the funding comes from the general fund of the Treasury or one or more designated offsetting accounts;

3) A clarification of how continuing to prepare for the DAPA program and DACA program expansion does not violate the court order's specific instruction to refrain "from implementing any and all aspects or phases" of the DAPA program and DACA program expansion; and

4) The specific provisions of federal law that you believe permit the Administration to continue to implement the above actions, procedures, processes, and/or preparations in the face of the current federal court order.

Read the full text of the letter below and here.

 

February 24, 2015


The Honorable Jeh Johnson
Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

Dear Secretary Johnson:

I am writing to you today to confirm that the Obama Administration intends to honor the recently issued federal injunction against both the Administration's Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and its expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Your comments and the President's comments raise serious questions about the Administration's intent to comply with the law and abide by the most basic rules of our American system of government.

As you know, the Administration's DAPA program, which you announced in a memorandum[1] on November 20, 2014, was enjoined last week by U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen of the Southern District of Texas. In granting his Order of Temporary Injunction, Judge Hanen explicitly applied the injunction to "[t]he United States of America, its departments, agencies, officers, agents and employees," and went on to state with clarity that the order "enjoined [the United States government] from implementing any and all aspects or phases of the [DAPA] program as set out" (emphasis added) in the DAPA program memorandum, "pending a final resolution of the merits of this case or until a further order of this Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit or the United States Supreme Court." The court order also enjoined any further implementation of the DACA program expansion "pending a trial on the merits or until a further order of this Court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals or the United States Supreme Court."[2]

Your comments, and comments of the President, in the wake of the court order suggest the Administration intends to defy the injunction. In your press release in the wake of the injunction, you stated that, while the Department of Homeland Security recognizes that it "must comply" with the court order pending appeal or further court action, you also stated that the Department "will be prepared to implement DAPA and expanded DACA" at the conclusion of the litigation.[3] President Obama expressed a similar view, stating that the Department would "be prepared to implement [the DAPA program] fully as soon as the legal issues get resolved," will be engaged in "preparatory work [for the DAPA program and DACA program expansion] because this is a big piece of business," and "will continue in the planning because we want to make sure as soon as these legal issues get resolved ... that we are ready to go."[4] This is entirely unacceptable.

Violating an unambiguous federal court order by defying its instructions to cease and desist a particular activity would represent a significant breach of your authority, and would be an escalation in abuse of our separation of powers. For a President and his cabinet to telegraph intent to violate a federal court order requires additional scrutiny from Congress.

In order to help us learn more about the Administration's position, please provide the following information no later than 9:00 a.m. on Friday, February 27, 2015:

1) The precise DAPA program-related and DACA program expansion-related actions, procedures, processes, and/or preparations the Administration intends to continue to implement despite the current federal court order;

2) The specific sources of funding the Administration intends to use to continue to implement the above actions, procedures, processes, and/or preparations, including indications as to whether the funding comes from the general fund of the Treasury or one or more designated offsetting accounts;

3) A clarification of how continuing to prepare for the DAPA program and DACA program expansion does not violate the court order's specific instruction to refrain "from implementing any and all aspects or phases" of the DAPA program and DACA program expansion; and

4) The specific provisions of federal law that you believe permit the Administration to continue to implement the above actions, procedures, processes, and/or preparations in the face of the current federal court order.

My office, the people of the State of Texas, and the American people look forward to your timely response.

Sincerely,

Ted Cruz
Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary

 

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