A federal judge pointedly asked Department of Justice lawyers Thursday if the court should still trust the Obama administration in light of false information it provided to the court.
"Can I trust what the president says? That's a yes or no question," U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen asked Deputy Asst. U.S. Atty. Gen. Kathleen R. Hartnett.
"Yes your honor," Hartnett responded.
The questioning of President Obama's integrity stems from an overlap between the president's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program and his 2014 Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program.
Obama's 2012 DACA program grants certain benefits (including work permits, drivers licenses, and Social Security Numbers) to some illegal immigrants who came to the country before they were adults. But the work permits under Obama's DACA program were only good for two years.
Obama's 2014 DAPA program, however, gives illegal immigrant parents of U.S. Citizens three year work permits (in addition to drivers licenses and Social Security Numbers) and the program also expanded DACA eligibility to some illegal immigrants who missed age cut offs under Obama's original DACA program.
When 26 states sued to stop Obama's DAPA program, Judge Hanen asked Obama's Justice Department when they planned to begin implementing the new DAPA program. DOJ then told Hanen that the new benefit program for illegal immigrant parents wouldn't begin until May and that the DACA expansion wouldn't begin until February 18th.
Hanen then relied on that February 18th date when he waited until February 16th to issue an injunction preventing the new DAPA program and the DACA extension from starting. The 26 states had asked Hanen to issue an injunction before December 30, 2014.
But then, three weeks after Hanen issued his injunction stopping the DAPA program and DACA extension, DOJ notified Hanen that the Department of Homeland Security had issued over 100,000 three-year work permits under the new DACA guidelines.
"We strive to be as candid as possible," Hartnett told Hanen. "It truly became clear to us there was confusion on this point," she said.
"So you waited three weeks to tell me you were doing it?" Hanen responded.
The 26 states suing Obama to stop his DAPA program have asked Hanen to impose sanctions on Obama's DOJ for misleading the court and have asked for an order directing the DOJ to turn over more internal documents relating to the implementation of the program.
Judge Hanen gave the DOJ 48 hours to file a motion in response.