A growing group of “Dreamers” are expressing concern the information they supplied to the government in hopes of benefiting from the immigration executive actions once enacted by President Obama will now be used against them.
Given the recent Supreme Court decision that effectively nullified the president’s actions, thousands of undocumented immigrants fear a Texas judge’s order to release the personal information of some 50,000 immigrants could leave them vulnerable to actions up to deportation.
“One of the things that the president announced in November 2014 was that, instead of two-year terms for the DACA deferred action, there would be three-year terms,” said Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), said of those who now feel most targeted. “So, it relates to those who received three-year grants.
Justice Department Sanctions
U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen ordered the information be made public as one of the sanctions he imposed on the Justice Department stemming from their handling of a case filed there that opposed the president’s mandate and was eventually heard by the high court.
Immigrants’ rights supporters say the Supreme Court’s June 23, decision where the justices’ deadlocked at 4-4 has increased the deportation risk for those on the list.
Saenz also insists immigrants who registered for DACA had every reason to believe the information they submitted would be kept confidential. He added that the judge’s current order has very little to do with the case.
“It is intended as punishment for what Judge Hanen believed to be misconduct by the federal government’s lawyers,” he said. “So, the question is whether that’s an appropriate sanction on lawyers at all, and it quite clearly is not.”
Saenz reasons forcing the Justice Department to surrender the information would be unconstitutional and vows to immediately file an appeal if the judge’s order is upheld.
MALDEF Files Appeal
Hanen recently granted a stay on his actions after MALDEF filed papers in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans seeking to block his order. The case is next due in court on Aug. 22.
“This order cannot survive an appeal because there is no legitimate basis for punishing innocent immigrant youth, who are not party to the case before Judge Hanen, in order to address alleged misconduct by attorneys for the United States,” Saenz said in a press release back then. “We are grateful that this egregious order will not go forward while the matter is appealed.”