ICE agents file suit against Napolitano

Ten officers and agents for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) including ICE Agents Union President Chris Crane, filed on Thursday a lawsuit against Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton challenging the Obama Administration’s deferred action Directive and associated Prosecutorial Discretion Memorandum.

The Directive and the earlier memorandum instruct ICE officers to refrain from placing certain aliens who are unlawfully present in theUnited Statesinto removal proceedings. The Directive further instructs officers to take actions to facilitate the granting of deferred action to aliens who are unlawfully present in theUnited States.  The Directive, entitled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to theUnited Statesas Children,” also directs DHS personnel to grant employment authorization to certain beneficiaries of the Directive.

“Both the Directive and memorandum command our agents to violate federal law and our oaths to uphold federal law.  We are federal law enforcement officers who are being ordered to break the law.  This directive puts ICE agents and officers in a horrible position,” said Chris Crane, veteran ICE agent and President of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council.

“The Directive is an extension of the DREAM Act, which was rejected by Congress, and aims to grant an amnesty to 1.7 million illegal aliens.  It violates federal immigration laws that require certain aliens to be placed in removal proceedings, it violates the Administrative Procedure Act, and it encroaches upon the legislative powers of Congress as defined in Article I of the United States Constitution,” said Kris Kobach, the attorney representing the plaintiffs.

“Any threat of harm to our nation’s immigration officers for enforcing the law is a threat against the livelihoods of average American workers,” said Roy Beck of NumbersUSA, the organization that is underwriting the suit.  “Congress passes laws to determine how many and which citizens of other countries are allowed to enterU.S.job markets to compete with American workers.  Fortunately during this long period of high unemployment, Congress has refused to add further competition through amnesties that would give millions of illegal aliens access to the legalU.S.job market.  The Napolitano amnesty directive does the opposite.  If immigration agents are not allowed to enforce the laws as decided by Congress, the wages and jobs of American workers are at risk,” said Beck.

“This Directive not only circumvents Congress, it also infringes on the plaintiffs’ ability to fulfill the oath they made to uphold the laws of this country.  The plaintiffs seek to prevent law enforcement officers from being forced to either violate federal law if they comply with the Directive or risk adverse employment action if they disobey the unlawful orders of the DHS Secretary,” said Kobach.

Reaction from ICE in a statement to Notimex News Agency:

“DHS uses prosecutorial discretion to assist in focusing vigorously on the removal of individuals who are convicted criminals, repeat immigration law violators and recent border crossers.

“In FY 2011, ICE removed more than 216,000 convicted criminal aliens, the largest  number in the agency’s history and an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since the previous administration. Overall, more than 90 percent of ICE’s removals fell within our priority categories.

“The Secretary’s memo on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a continuation of the Department’s focus on these priorities, and ensures that responsible young people, who are Americans in every way but on paper, have an opportunity to remain in the country and make their fullest contribution.  This policy is a temporary measure; Congress must still act to provide a permanent solution to fix the broken immigration system.”

Reaction from Frank Sharry, Executive Director ofAmerica’s Voice to the lawsuit and its implications:

“The young people who qualify for the DREAMer Deferred Action initiative are Americans in all but paperwork.  They pledge allegiance to the flag every day in school, want only to attend college or serve in the military, and want only to contribute their talents to the country they love.  And these schoolyard bullies want to stand in their way?  Have they no shame?

“Kris Kobach, Roy Beck and Chris Crane have jumped the shark on this one.  They seem determined to go down in history as this generation’s unreconstructed xenophobes who are best known for trying to slam the door of opportunity in the faces of the Latino kids who grew up inAmericaand callAmericatheir home.”

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