Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant [official website] on Wednesday joined a federal lawsuit [press release] challenging a policy directive [memorandum, PDF; JURIST report] to defer the deportation of young illegal immigrants. The claim [complaint, PDF], filed by [JURIST report] Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on behalf of 10 agents of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website] against US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano [official websites], alleges that the directive, known as Deferred Action, contradicts existing practice because it compels ICE officers not to enforce federal immigration laws or initiate removal proceedings against a broad class of roughly 1.7 million illegal immigrants. Bryant alleges that this order "usurps Congress's authority to regulate immigration and violates the constitutional separation of powers and the president's obligation to enforce federal law." He also argues that Mississippi has standing in the case "based on the significant fiscal costs that illegal immigration imposes on the state."
Immigration laws [JURIST backgrounder] remain a hot button issue in many states. At the end of September California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] signed a bill [JURIST report] that will allow some illegal immigrants who came to the US as children to obtain state drivers licenses. Also last month lawyers for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer [official website] announced a plan to appeal [JURIST report] a preliminary injunction currently blocking the provision of the controversial Arizona immigration law that criminalizes the harboring and transportation of illegal immigrants. In August the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] partially struck down [JURIST report] Alabama and Georgia's immigration laws, but upheld other provisions. Also that month, Utah's Attorney General argued that the state's restrictive immigration law should be upheld [JURIST report] in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Arizona v. United States [opinion, PDF; JURIST report].