States' lawsuit against amnesty draws judge unafraid to criticize immigration enforcement

The 20 states suing the Obama administration over the president’s unilateral amnesty, led by Texas AG and governor-elect Greg Abbott, filed their lawsuit in Brownsville, Texas.  That was evidently a strategic choice.  Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reports:

The states challenging President Obama’s deportation amnesty have already won the first round in court after the case landed in the lap of Judge Andrew S. Hanen, a Bush appointee who issued a scorching rebuke to the Department of Homeland Security last year, accusing it of refusing to follow border security laws.

It could hardly have been a worse outcome for Mr. Obama, who, in order to preserve his policy, will now have to convince a judge who is on record calling his previous, less-extensive nondeportation policies “dangerous and unconscionable.” (snip)

[The case] could have gone to one of two judges — the other a Clinton appointee — but it landed in the lap of Judge Hanen last week, putting Mr. Obama on the defensive early.

Judge Hanen seems to believe that the law should be enforced as it is written:

In a 10-page order last December, just as the surge of illegal immigrant children was beginning, he blasted the Obama administration for refusing to get tough on enforcement and instead shipping children caught at the border to live with their illegal immigrant parents here in the U.S. — and refusing to even try to deport those parents.

“The DHS should cease telling the citizens of the United States that it is enforcing our border security laws because it is clearly not,” Judge Hanen wrote. “Even worse, it is helping those who violate these laws.”

Judge Hanen, who took his spot in the federal bench in 2002, was quick to say in his order that he didn’t take a “position on the topic of immigration reform,” but said he was dismayed at “the failure by the DHS to enforce current United States law.”

Even more striking was his reasoning: Judge Hanen said the government was wasting money, not saving it, by refusing to deport illegal immigrants and instead paying to connect children and their illegal immigrant parents.

This is relevant to the current case because:

The states that sued to halt Mr. Obama’s policy say they too will incur hundreds of millions of dollars in costs if they have to police, educate and provide care for the thousands of new illegal immigrants they expect to be enticed to enter the U.S. illegally based on the new amnesty. The states argue they have been injured by Mr. Obama’s order — or, in legal terms, have “standing” to sue in court — because of those economic consequences.

Standing will be a huge issue in this case, and there is no guarantee that Judge Hanen’s previous decision will incline him to grant standing to the states.  They have to prove that harm will befall them.  The wheels of justice move slowly, and a preliminary hearing on the case is tentatively scheduled for the end of March next year.

The 20 states suing the Obama administration over the president’s unilateral amnesty, led by Texas AG and governor-elect Greg Abbott, filed their lawsuit in Brownsville, Texas.  That was evidently a strategic choice.  Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reports:

The states challenging President Obama’s deportation amnesty have already won the first round in court after the case landed in the lap of Judge Andrew S. Hanen, a Bush appointee who issued a scorching rebuke to the Department of Homeland Security last year, accusing it of refusing to follow border security laws.

It could hardly have been a worse outcome for Mr. Obama, who, in order to preserve his policy, will now have to convince a judge who is on record calling his previous, less-extensive nondeportation policies “dangerous and unconscionable.” (snip)

[The case] could have gone to one of two judges — the other a Clinton appointee — but it landed in the lap of Judge Hanen last week, putting Mr. Obama on the defensive early.

Judge Hanen seems to believe that the law should be enforced as it is written:

In a 10-page order last December, just as the surge of illegal immigrant children was beginning, he blasted the Obama administration for refusing to get tough on enforcement and instead shipping children caught at the border to live with their illegal immigrant parents here in the U.S. — and refusing to even try to deport those parents.

“The DHS should cease telling the citizens of the United States that it is enforcing our border security laws because it is clearly not,” Judge Hanen wrote. “Even worse, it is helping those who violate these laws.”

Judge Hanen, who took his spot in the federal bench in 2002, was quick to say in his order that he didn’t take a “position on the topic of immigration reform,” but said he was dismayed at “the failure by the DHS to enforce current United States law.”

Even more striking was his reasoning: Judge Hanen said the government was wasting money, not saving it, by refusing to deport illegal immigrants and instead paying to connect children and their illegal immigrant parents.

This is relevant to the current case because:

The states that sued to halt Mr. Obama’s policy say they too will incur hundreds of millions of dollars in costs if they have to police, educate and provide care for the thousands of new illegal immigrants they expect to be enticed to enter the U.S. illegally based on the new amnesty. The states argue they have been injured by Mr. Obama’s order — or, in legal terms, have “standing” to sue in court — because of those economic consequences.

Standing will be a huge issue in this case, and there is no guarantee that Judge Hanen’s previous decision will incline him to grant standing to the states.  They have to prove that harm will befall them.  The wheels of justice move slowly, and a preliminary hearing on the case is tentatively scheduled for the end of March next year.