ICE agents sue Napolitano, Morton over immigration policies

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Ten Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton Thursday, taking on recent Obama administration directives which they say prevent them from upholding the law.

The suit, filed in federal court in Dallas, Texas, challenges the administration’s June 15th deferred action directive which instructed ICE agents not to arrest certain illegal immigrants for deportation and facilitate the granting of work permits for some directive beneficiaries.

“We are federal law enforcement officers who are being ordered to break the law. This directive puts ICE agents and officers in a horrible position,” President of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council and former ICE agent Chris Crane said in a statement.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an adviser Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, is the lead attorney on the case.

“The Directive is an extension of the DREAM Act, which was rejected by Congress, and aims to grant an amnesty to 1.7 million illegal aliens,” Kobach said. “It violates federal immigration laws that require certain aliens to be placed in removal proceedings, it violates the Administrative Procedure Act, and it encroaches upon the legislative powers of Congress as defined in Article I of the United States Constitution.”

“The lawsuit notes the position that these ICE agents are being put in, they are being ordered by their political appointee superiors to break federal law, or if they don’t break federal law, according to their orders, they will be disciplined. This is an absolutely breath taking assertion of authority and an abuse of authority,” he added in a conference call with reporters, comparing the situation to Fast and Furious.

Republican lawmakers came out in support of the lawsuit Thursday, including Texas Reps. Louie Gohmert, John Carter and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith.

“The Obama administration’s amnesty program not only rewards lawbreakers, it also forces ICE agents to violate federal law. ICE agents should enforce our immigration laws and apprehend illegal immigrants. But the Obama administration makes it impossible for ICE agents to do their jobs,” Smith said in a statement. “Instead of enforcing the law, the Obama administration requires ICE agents to release illegal immigrants. This policy not only hurts ICE agents but also unemployed American workers who have to compete with illegal immigrants for scarce jobs.”

Fox News points out that Napolitano offered a defense of the guidance in testimony before Smith’s Committee last month.

“These policies promote the efficient use of our resources ensuring that we do not divert them away from the removal of convicted criminals by pursuing the removal of young people who came to this country as children and who have called no other country home,” she said.

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