Ten employees at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are suing the Obama administration to block a new program to let many young illegal immigrants avoid deportation and get a work permit.
The suit also claims that directives from the Department of Homeland Security and its secretary, Janet Napolitano, force agents to break the law by not arresting certain illegal immigrants.
Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and an immigration adviser to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, is representing the employees. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in Dallas.
The 22-page filing, which names Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton as defendants, contends that the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan violates federal law.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Napolitano has previously defended the plan.
The suit says the mandate "unconstitutionally usurps and encroaches upon the legislative powers of Congress."
Kobach equated the move to give thousands of illegal immigrants a reprieve to the failed Fast and Furious gun-walking operation.
"In both instances, the Obama administration ordered federal law enforcement agents to break the law, to ignore the laws that they're supposed to enforce, and, in the case of the ICE agents, to actually break federal laws that say you're supposed to deport certain people," he told Fox News."And in each case, the Obama administration seems to be doing so for political reasons."
Kobach is a co-author of the Arizona illegal immigration law.
Napolitano has in the past defended the mandate.
"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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