On Tuesday President Obama announced the Department of Homeland Security would not process executive amnesty applications, and hand out related work permits, in light of the Feb. 16 injunction by Judge Andrew Hanen. He will, however, continue to spend funds in preparation for implementation, which appears to violate Judge Hanen’s injunction, according to the Daily Caller. The watchdog group Judicial Watch last week asked Congress to investigate whether the president violated the federal Antideficiency Act by spending funds he did not have in preparation for launching his executive amnesty.
Obama said “We’re not going to be actually taking applications in until this case is settled. But we are doing the preparatory work because this is a big piece of business….The Department of Homeland Security will continue in the planning because we want to make sure as soon as these legal issues get resolved, which I anticipate they will in our favor, that we are ready to go.”
But The Daily Caller reports Judge Hanen’s injunction bars all DHS preparations. It says Administration officials “are hereby enjoined from implementing any and all aspects or phases of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (‘DAP A’) program as set out in the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s memorandum dated November 20.”
The media reported Obama’s claim about complying with the judge’s order but did not question whether continuing amnesty preparations was in fact consistent with that order. Questions also have been raised as to whether spending-to-date on Obama’s executive amnesties has been lawful.
Judicial Watch last week asked Congress to initiate a Government Accountability Office investigation into whether the Administration has unlawfully redirected DHS funds to pay for executive amnesty preparations. The Administration leased an office building in Virginia to house 1,000 new hires who will process amnesty applications, The combined cost for leasing and staff is an estimated $48 million. Plus on Jan. 23rd DHS solicited bids for "records support services in support of deferred action for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents."
The Judicial Watch letter to Congress suggests GAO investigate “whether USCIS is using funds appropriated, including any monies raised by fees assessed by USCIS, for a different, designated purpose to fund the implementation the plans to extend DACA and establish DAPA.” It also notes USCIS will seek to contact with federal vendors, like in the case of the record support services solicitation, for amounts that exceed the funding available to it.
Judicial Watch alleges this would violate the federal Antideficiency Act, which prohibits spending funds and signing contracts if Congress has not appropriated funds or the relevant amounts exceed available funds.
Updated: Wed, Oct 11th 2017 @ 3:31pm EDT