Immigration agents sue DHS over deferred-deportation policy

Ten federal immigration agents are filing a lawsuit against the Obama administration, arguing that the Department of Homeland Security’s more-lenient revisions of their deportation policy earlier this year are putting them between a rock and a hard place by preventing them from doing their jobs as-required by law. The Wash Times reports:

The 10 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and deportation officers said Mr. Obama’s policies force them to choose between enforcing the law and being reprimanded by superiors, or listening to superiors and violating their own oaths of office and a 1996 law that requires them to demand proof of legal status from those they suspect are not in the country legally.

Upping the ante, the agents are being represented by a high-profile lawyer, Kris W. Kobach, secretary of state in Kansas and the chief promoter of state immigration crackdowns such as Arizona’s tough law.

“ICE is at a point now where agents are being told to break federal law, they’re pretty much told that any illegal alien under age of 31 is going to be let go. You can imagine, these law enforcement officers are being put in a horrible position,” Mr. Kobach said.

Last week the Homeland Security Department began taking applications from those 30 years of age or younger who came to the U.S. as children and who have kept a fairly clean criminal record. They are being granted “deferred action,” which is an official notice they are not to be deported, and will be granted work permits to stay and get jobs legally in the U.S.

Secretary Napolitano, President Obama, etcetera have staunchly defended the legality of their directives and claimed they’re well within their rights of ‘prosecutorial discretion,’ but some Congressional Republicans aren’t so sure the administration hasn’t overstepped its bounds.

“The Obama administration makes it impossible for ICE agents to do their jobs,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) in a statement issued along with fellow Texas Republicans Reps. John Carter and Louie Gohmert.

“Instead of enforcing the law, the Obama administration requires ICE agents to release illegal immigrants,” Smith said.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has repeatedly said he plans on filing his own lawsuit against Napolitano arguing that the immigration directive is unconstitutional because it bypassed Congress’s authority.

“I said that I would bring a lawsuit against the President and that process is underway,” said King. “With just a few puzzle pieces to get in the right place, I will soon file that lawsuit.”

This is all part of the continuing fallout from this past June, when the Obama administration announced that they intended to stop deporting young illegal immigrants who have no criminal record and instead issue them work permits — a move that they positively insisted had absolutely nothing to do with politics, but was oh-so-clearly calculated to help them maintain Democrats’ overwhelming hold on the Hispanic vote. According to an NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll out this week, it seems like they’re doing something right (or at least, not doing anything wrong), but whether that’ll be enough to inspire Hispanic voters to actually get to the polls in November is an entirely different question.

Hispanics, the largest-growing segment of the U.S. population over the past decade, said they preferred Obama over Romney in the presidential race, 63 to 28 percent. …

Despite President Obama’s June immigration announcement – which halted the deportation of illegal immigrants younger than 30 and who were brought to the United States as children – there has not been an uptick in Latino enthusiasm. That policy took effect Aug. 15, but Latino interest in this election is at its lowest point in the NBC-WSJ-Telemundo poll.

Just 61 percent of Latinos indicated a high level of enthusiasm in the upcoming election (registering an “8,” “9” or “10” on a 10-point scale). That’s 20 points below the average of 81 percent of all voters. And almost 20 points below 2008 levels for Latinos at about the same time before the election.

Ed Morrissey Nov 29, 2021 8:25 AM ET