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Mississippi Joins Lawsuit Against Deferred Action

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CREDIT: Flikr/Jimmywayne

Mississippi has become the first state to take legal action against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by joining a lawsuit filed in August on behalf of 10 Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees.

The officers who are suing claim that the deferred action program forces them to break the oath of their employment, which is to enforce U.S. immigration policy. The case was filed by Texas attorney Michael Jung and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The suit names as defendants Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton. NumbersUSA, which advocates for restrictive immigration policy, is funding the lawsuit.

The basis of the employees' argument is that by offering two-year stays to undocumented youth, the program effectively “commands ICE officers to violate federal law.”

In a statement, Gov. Phil Bryant (R-Miss.) said he could no longer “turn a blind eye to the problem of illegal immigration and its costs to Mississippi."

However, the deferred action program simply aims to give promising, undocumented young people a chance at success. Deferred action allows young undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States for two years if they can prove they arrived in America before turning 16, have been in the country for at least five years, are 30 years old or younger, and are either in school, have graduated, or served in the military. To qualify, an undocumented young immigrant cannot have a criminal record or be considered a threat to public safety or national security. Undocumented criminals still face the same consequences as they always have—jail time and deportation.

Kobach infamously authored Arizona's anti-immigration law, SB 1070, which was ruled mostly unconstitutional by the Supreme Court earlier this year, and played a leading role in folding Mississippi into the case. The plaintiffs are hoping to overturn the deferred action directive, which would prevent about 1.7 million eligible young immigrants from applying.

Mississippi’s choice to join the lawsuit certainly puts a cloud over the heads of America’s young immigrant population seeking to make a future for themselves in this country.

 

See the original article here on Pushback.org, the blog of Campus Progress Action.

Aaron Brennan is a Communications Intern with Campus Progress

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