- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Homeland Security Department is predictably having a devil of a time trying to get illegal immigrants to send back their three-year amnesty approvals, administration lawyers said as they admitted to a federal judge Thursday, saying that more than 40 percent of them remain outstanding.

And in another bungle, the department said it’s discovered another 500 amnesties that were mailed after Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued an injunction halting the program.

That’s in addition to the 2,000 that the government had previously admitted to sending out after the injunction — moves that have already pushed Judge Hanen to call Secretary Jeh Johnson to appear personally in his courtroom next month to defend himself.

The government blamed the newly discovered approvals of Employment Authorization Documents on a “mailing contractor,” and belatedly said it is taking steps to make sure no new three-year amnesties can be mailed — nearly five months after Judge Hanen issued his injunction.

“DHS is undertaking an expedited process of corrective action for the approximately 500 three-year EADs re-mailed after the injunction. All such three-year EADs will be converted to two-year EADs, and DHS will expeditiously seek the return of the three-year EADs that were re-mailed,” the administration lawyers told the judge.

The bungle is unlikely to sit well with Judge Hanen. On Tuesday he issued an order citing what he called a “cavalier attitude” on the part of the government in violating his injunction, and he demanded Mr. Johnson and his top lieutenants in the immigration services all appear to answer for their behavior.

SEE ALSO: House appropriators move to block Obama’s executive amnesty

At issue are the three-year amnesties and work permits Homeland Security issued in accordance with President Obama’s Nov. 20, 2014, amnesty expansion. Dreamers, who had been eligible for two-year stays of deportation and work permits, were approved for three years instead.

More than 100,000 applications were approved before Judge Hanen’s Feb. 16 injunction, and those are still in a legal gray area. But Homeland Security now acknowledges it issued about 2,500 permits — the 2,000 it admitted earlier, plus the 500 new ones — even after the injunction.

Judge Hanen said if Homeland Security is able to rectify the situation, he may cancel the hearing but “otherwise, the court intends to utilize all available powers to compel compliance.”

In its filing Thursday the government admitted that it’s recaptured less than 1,200 of the 2,000 three-year amnesties it previously acknowledged.

That means that while the amnesties have been converted in the government’s computers, the immigrants are still carrying permits good for three years.

The government said it’s sent two different letters demanding the immigrants return the wrongly issued documents, but nearly half are still refusing.

“We are now executing additional steps to secure return of the remaining three-year EADs,” the lawyers said — though they provided no details.

The Homeland Security Department didn’t respond to a message seeking more information.

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