ICE agents can sue over illegal immigrants

ICE agents making arrestA federal judge ruled Thursday that 10 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have standing to sue the Department of Homeland Security over how certain illegal immigrants should be handled, thus clearing the agents’ first legal hurdle.

Filed Aug. 23, the lawsuit challenges a Department of Homeland Security directive authorizing deferred action against illegal immigrants younger than 30 and an ICE memo directing agents to use prosecutorial discretion against the same class of illegals, reported.

Both the memo and the Homeland Security directive resulted from an Obama executive order that amounted to an end-run around Congress. Obama had taken unilateral action when Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act, which would have essentially done the same thing.

The ICE agents filed their lawsuit in federal court in Dallas, alleging that their bosses were violating federal law, the Constitution and the Administrative Procedures Act. In their lawsuit, the agents say they wanted to ignore the orders but feared that would put their jobs in jeopardy, according to their complaint. But in following the provisions of the directive and memo, they said, they would be violating their oath of office.

District Court Judge Reed O’Connor agreed with lawyers for Homeland Security that the ICE agents failed to show how they’d be violating their oath or harmed by following their bosses’ orders, according to the 35-page order published by

But the court found that the agents did have standing “to challenge the portions of the Directive and the Morton Memorandum related to the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”

All in all, it hasn’t been a good week in court for President Obama. On Friday, the day after O’Connor ruled that federal employees could take on what amounted to a presidential executive order, a federal appeals court ruled that Obama’s controversial recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were illegal.

This is the week the U.S. Supreme Court should have delivered its Obamacare decision.

Read the judge’s order here.

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