Agents Reject Order to Violate the Law and Their Oath to Defend the Constitution
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 23, 2012 – Ten officers and agents for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) including ICE Agents Union President Chris Crane, today filed 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 that prevent ICE officers, employees, and agents from fulfilling their sworn oath to uphold the law and defend the US Constitution.
The Directive and the earlier memorandum instruct ICE officers to refrain from placing certain aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States into removal proceedings. The Directive further instructs officers to take actions to facilitate the granting of deferred action to aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States. The Directive, entitled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as 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 enter U.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 legal U.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.
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