A federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Friday issued a stinging rebuke of the Justice Department, saying its legal argument “reeks of bad faith.”
In a 127-page decision blocking the Trump administration from expanding its “expedited removal” program allowing for the swift deportation of undocumented immigrants, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson carefully dismantled the DOJ’s legal defenses of the proposed expansion and ardently defended the virtues of nationwide preliminary injunctions.
Jackson took particular issue with the DOJ’s contention that even where a federal courts finds an administration’s rule to be unlawful, the court “must limit any injunctive relief” to only the named plaintiffs in the legal action.
“In sum, and sternly put, the argument that an administrative agency should be permitted to side-step the required result of a fair-fought fight about well-established statutory constraints on agency action is a terrible proposal that is patently inconsistent with the dictates of the law,” Jackson wrote in response to the DOJ proposed limited injunction remedy. “Additionally, it reeks of bad faith, demonstrates contempt for the authority that the Constitution’s Framers have vested in the judicial branch, and, ultimately, deprives successful plaintiffs of the full measure of the remedy to which they are entitled.”
As previously reported by Law&Crime, the administration in July announced its plans for nationwide expansion of the policy which originally only applied to illegal immigrants caught within 100 miles of the U.S. southern border who had entered the country within the last two weeks, calling it a necessary response to the influx of immigrants illegally coming into the country.
Jackson reasoned that under the Administrative Procedure Act, the decision to expand the policy was arbitrary and capricious while also noting that it would likely cause thousands of legal immigrants and those lawfully seeking asylum to suffer irreparable harm by being deported without proper due process under the policy.
“Significantly, Plaintiffs (the government) also assert that ‘the public interest is served when administrative agencies comply with their legal obligations.’ If the length and force of the instant Opinion has not been sufficient to express the Court’s conclusions in this regard, it will underscore them now, by expressly confirming that the Court agrees,” Jackson wrote.
“Particularly when the agency rule that is under consideration implicates non-trivial concerns about having one’s family members, friends, and neighbors potentially apprehended and swiftly deported—without the chance to check in, or to establish that they do, in fact, belong here—this Court cannot emphasize enough that the public’s interest in procedural safeguards against unconstrained administrative agency action is especially strong.”
[image via JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images]