Saturday, January 26, 2013

District Court Rules That ICE Agents Have Standing to Challenge the Morton Memo and Deferred Action Policy

The United States Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled yesterday in the case of Crane v. Napolitano that ICE agents have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the policies regarding the exercise of discretion in cases involving deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA).

ICE agents (as well as the State of Mississippi) sued Secretary of State Janet Napolitano to stop the implementation of the Morton Memorandum (issued on June 17, 2011), the directive entitled "Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children (issued on June 15, 2012) and subsequent guidance and operating procedures for processing DACA applications. 

ICE agents argued that they took an oath to uphold the Constitution and their legal obligation under federal law to arrest or issue a Notice to Appear when they encounter an unauthorized noncitizen who are not "clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to be admitted," as stated in 8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(2)(A). They contended that (1) the Morton Memo and DACA policies violate their oaths, (2) that they have the burden of complying with the policies, and (3) that they will face adverse employment action if they choose not to comply with the policies. The State of Mississippi sued to halt the policies because of the significant "'fiscal costs" that result from undocumented immigrants residing in Mississippi who are permitted to remain in the state as a result of the Morton Memo and DACA policies. 

Judge Reed O'Connor rejected the first two of the ICE agents' arguments but ruled that ICE agents met the constitutional requirements for standing under the third argument. Judge O'Connor found that the ICE agents could potentially face disciplinary action from failing to comply with the Morton Meo and DACA directives.  

Notably, the court rejected Mississippi's argument, stating that the alleged injury the state faced was too speculative. 

Here's the link to the opinion: Download Crane v. Napolitano.


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