Thursday, August 23, 2012
ICE agents “fed up!”
Today, 10 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents submitted a suit in a North Texas federal court to enjoin Homeland Security head, Janet Napolitano and ICE director, John Morton from proceeding with the president’s new non-deportation policy and an earlier memo instructing them not to go after rank-and-file illegal immigrants.
A Washington Times article reported:
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Texas, adds a legal controversy to the political fight that has been brewing over President Obama’s immigration policies, which have steadily narrowed the range of immigrants the government is targeting for deportation.
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 put those who entered the country illegally into deportation proceedings . . .
Last week, at Mr. Obama’s direction, 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 allowed to obtain work permits to stay and get jobs legally in the United States.
Matt Chandler, a spokesman for the (DHS) department, said officials are comfortable with their policy of narrowing the scope of those they target for deportation, and said more than 90 percent of those ICE deportations already fall within their high-priority categories . . .
Ms. Napolitano said she’s acting in accordance with Supreme Court rulings that have established a wide latitude for discretion by the executive branch, and said federal law directs the administration to establish immigration enforcement priorities.
But in their 22-page complaint, the agents say they’ve been told in broad terms to ignore a whole class of illegal immigrants. They said they have been instructed not to bother asking for proof, but to take an illegal immigrant’s word that he would qualify for the president’s more liberal policy . . .
Chris Crane, an ICE deportation officer, president of the National ICE Council and one of those suing to stop the policy, said morale is low among rank-and-file employees at the agency.
“They feel like they’ve become the enemy because, literally, we have this situation where individuals that have broken U.S. immigration law as well as often times criminal law at the state or local level — they’re being released, no questions asked, but our own officers are being threatened with their careers being taken away if they go out and enforce the laws on the books,” said Mr. Crane.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Northern District of Texas, argues the administration policies fail to pass muster on three grounds: they infringe on Congress’s right to set immigration policy; they force ICE agents to disregard the law; and the Homeland Security Department didn’t follow the federal Administrative Procedure Act, which requires agencies to write regulations and put them out for public comment before taking big steps . . .
Mr. Crane said agents face another dilemma: If they do follow orders and release someone who later goes on to commit a crime, they may open themselves up to a civil lawsuit.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, has written to ICE asking for an explanation of the Doebler case, and he said he’s still waiting.
“The men and women who swore an oath to uphold the law and protect the public safety are now forced to ignore the law if they are to remain secure in their jobs,” he said.
Roy Beck, founder of NumbersUSA is an advocate for immigration control. His website regularly publishes the latest information in the battle for coherent immigration policies. Today on NumbersUSA, Beck posted an article entitled, “ICE Agents File Lawsuit Against DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.” The initial press release, and the text of the suit filed in federal court are both linked on the site. Both are worth reading.
With the proclivity of Obama’s administration, at his direction, to subvert the separation of powers and circumvent the rule of law, it is no surprise that some, accustomed to a more ethical implementation of their sworn duties will take exception to ill-conceived policies.