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Janet Napolitano SC

Federal Judge Reed O’Conner ruled on Friday that 10 ICE agents and officers indeed do have standing to challenge in Federal court the so-called Morton Memo on prosecutorial discretion and the DREAM directive on deferred action.


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The agents filed their complaint in October, charging that unconstitutional and illegal directives from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton order the agents to violate federal laws or face adverse employment actions. This is a major first step for the ICE agents in their case against the administration!

In his 35-page decision, Judge O’Conner found that the ICE agents and officers have standing, but that the State of Mississippi does not. He has not yet ruled, however, on the agents’ motion for a preliminary injunction to halt implementation of the DHS directives.

The primary impetus for the lawsuit came last June, when Secretary Napolitano issued a memo offering deferred action and employment authorization to illegal aliens under age 31 who meet certain criteria similar to those outlined in the DREAM Act, which has failed to pass Congress on three occasions.

Even before that, though, ICE Director John Morton essentially gutted immigration enforcement by issuing a memo on prosecutorial discretion that, in effect, prohibits ICE agents and officers from arresting or removing any but the most violent criminal aliens. Under Morton’s stated policy, most of the 12 million or so illegal aliens that the administration wants to legalize are currently safe from deportation.


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This is just one of the reasons that the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council voted unanimously that they have no confidence in Morton’s ability to lead the agency. Aside from ordering ICE agents to not enforce federal immigration laws, Morton has also gutted worksite enforcement and the 287(g) program, which is a cooperative effort between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents.

The 10 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration seeking an end of President Barack Obama’s new non-deportation policy derided as Obama’s Dream Act Light by opponents of his illegal immigration policies, according to the ICE agents’ union.

The ICE agents filed the lawsuit in federal court in one of the state’s most affected by the Obama policy — Texas. The agents allege that President Obama’s policies have reduced the number of illegal aliens who will be deported back to their country of origin.

The ICE agents allege in their lawsuit that the Obama executive order causes a confusing situation in which they must choose between enforcing federal laws and being disciplined by their commanders, or obeying their supervisors thereby violating oaths of office and a Clinton administration law — passed by a bi-partisan Congress in 1996 — that mandates the deportation of illegal aliens.

Kris W. Kobach, the secretary of state in Kansas, is representing the ICE agents in their lawsuit. Kobach has been a leading voice in support of state immigration legislation such as Arizona’s controversial law.

In the 20-page legal complaint, the agents state they’ve been ordered to ignore an entire category of illegal aliens. The agents allege they were told to stop requesting proof of citizenship or immigration status.

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