[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas [official website] on Thursday ordered [order, PDF] Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] lawyers appearing in multiple states to take ethics classes after finding DOJ lawyers misled the court. Judge Andrew Hanen found that the DOJ lawyers, who had initially been defending the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) [materials, PDF] policy, misrepresented information regarding when the government would be implementing and accepting applications for the program, and subsequently misled the court in regards to the number of individuals given their work permits through the program while still under an injunction. In imposing sanctions for these misrepresentations the court held that it would not enforce monetary sanctions because it would not make the states challenging DAPA whole, nor would it serve to deter any future misconduct. Hanen stated, there was “a lack of knowledge about or adherence to duties of professional responsibility in the halls of the Justice Department.” He ordered that “any attorney employed at the Justice Department in Washington D.C. who appears, or seeks to appear, in a court (state or federal) in any of the 26 Plaintiff States annually attend a legal ethics course.” In addition, the judge ordered that the Attorney General provide a plan within 60 days to prevent any further misconduct and ordered that the government provide a list of roughly 100,000 who entered illegally through early implementation of this program.
The case in which this misconduct occurred has been granted certiorari [JURIST report] by the US Supreme Court. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the injunction against DAPA last May, a month after Hanen declined to lift [JURIST reports] the stay he imposed in February. In March of last year the DOJ urged [JURIST report] the Fifth Circuit to reverse the injunction blocking the president’s immigration executive action. In November 2014, President Barack Obama announced two new immigration programs [text], purportedly under his executive authority as president. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the DAPA would lift the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented residents by allowing immigrants that have been in the US for more than five years or have children who are citizens to register and pass a criminal background check in order to stay in the country.