ICE Officers Sue Janet Napolitano and Department of Homeland Security Over the Deferred Action Directive

Several officers from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have filed an injunction in federal court against Secretary Nepolitano and DHS. The plaintiffs are ICE law enforcement officers who believe that by following the Directive issued regarding the Deferred Action that they violate federal law and will be harmed in their positions as ICE law enforcement officers. The officers filed for an injunction against the implementation of the Deferred Action because they believe it is unconstitutional.

The actions raised by the ICE officers in their complaint include: The Directive expressly violates federal statutes requiring the initiation of removals, it violates federal law by conferring a non-statutory form of benefit, deferred action, to more than 1.7 million aliens, rather than a form of relief or benefit that federal law permits on such a large scale, it violates federal law by conferring the legal benefit of employment authorization without any statutory basis and under the false pretense of “Prosecutorial Discretion”, it violates the Constitutional allocation of legislative power to Congress, it violates the Article II, Section 3, Constitutional obligation of the Executive to take care that the laws are faithfully executed, and that it violates the Administrative Procedure Act through conferral of a benefit without regulatory implementation.

While all of these actions raise questions of Constitutional authority and federal power, it will be interesting to see how the DHS responds and whether an injunction will be implemented. If so, it will be a major setback for the Obama administration in taking a stand and doing something where Congress has failed to act. Many DREAMers will now have to wait to see how this plays out and whether they may still gain some relief that was promised to them.