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Lawsuit filed to challenge deferred action immigration program

Last week on our Greensboro immigration blog we noted the beginning of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives certain eligible illegal immigrants a reprieve from deportation and a chance to earn a two-year work permit. While the program offers temporary help to young immigrants, it is not without its critics, some of whom have instituted legal action against it.

Ten Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees have joined together in a lawsuit, alleging that the program interferes with their duties as immigration officials. They argue that federal law requires them to take certain immigrants into custody, but the program's edicts effectively contravene federal law by ordering ICE employees to refrain from arresting some of those immigrants who may qualify for deferred action.

According to the ICE employees, they have been given the Hobson's choice of following the program's rules--which they assert would involve violating federal law--or enforcing federal immigration laws but failing to carry out the mandate of the deferred action program, which would expose them to censure from higher-ups within the agency.

Kris Kobach, the current Secretary of State of Kansas, is representing the 10 ICE employees. Kobach has made clear that he has taken on this case as a private attorney and not in a manner in any way connected to his political office. The defendants are listed as John Morton, current director of ICE, and Janet Napolitano, current Secretary of Homeland Security.

This lawsuit is just in its infancy, but we will follow its development to see what effect, if any, it has on the deferred action program. In the meantime, eligible immigrants are able to come forward and apply for the program.

Source: The Washington Post, "Romney immigration adviser leading lawsuit fighting Obama plan to not deport young immigrants," Aug. 23, 2012.

• The sands of immigration law are constantly shifting. If you would like more information on our firm, please visit our North Carolina immigration page.

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