[JURIST] Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach [official website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Thursday in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas [official website] challenging a policy directive [memorandum, PDF; JURIST report] to defer the deportation of young illegal immigrants. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 10 agents of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website] and named US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano [official website] as a defendant. The lawsuit contends that the policy directive, known as Deferred Action, places the agents in a legal quandary because Deferred Action supposedly contradicts other US immigration laws:
Plaintiffs reasonably fear, based upon official communications to them … from their superiors, past events, and public sources, that if they follow the requirements of federal law, contrary to the “Directive,” and arrest an alien or issue an alien an Notice to Appear (NTA) in removal proceedings, they will be disciplined or suffer other adverse employment consequences.
It is unclear when the court will review the lawsuit.
Immigration laws [JURIST backgrounder] have became a hot button issue over the past few years when many states, Arizona being the first, passed laws giving their state and local officials more power to crack down on illegal immigration. On Wednesday a federal judge heard arguments [JURIST report] on whether to uphold a controversial provision of Arizona’s immigration law that requires police to check the immigration status of people they stop. The provision was upheld [JURIST report] by the US Supreme Court but only on the grounds that it did not conflict with the federal government’s powers regarding illegal immigration. On Monday 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. Last week 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.