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King Celebrates Victory over Presidential Amnesty Edict in Federal Court

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Steve King released the following statement after the District Court for the Northern District of Texas ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought against the Obama administration on Tuesday. The plaintiffs alleged that the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) directives contained in memos authored by ICE Director John Morton and Secretary of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano which constitute discretionary amnesty for illegal immigrants, are violations of federal law. Among the plaintiffs are Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who have been barred from effectively carrying out federal law by these executive agency directives. As of Tuesday, they have been granted preliminary injunctive relief against implementing the directives contained in the memorandum.

"Today, I am celebrating the District Court's decision to side in favor of the ICE agents and in favor of the Rule of Law, as enacted by Congress, over an Obama executive edict intended to undermine current federal statute," King said. "Subversion of our Constitutionally enacted immigration laws by Presidential edict is an affront to the Rule of Law, and I am pleased that this federal court recognized that fact. The DREAM Act was rejected by Congress several times, and hopefully, this court's ruling will halt the administration's efforts to go around Congress. This lawsuit was a product of a meeting I convened last July. I congratulate Chris Crane of ICE and all of the plaintiffs who defended the Constitution and Rule of Law. I have long argued that 'shall enforce' the law does not mean 'may enforce' the law, and this ruling is a major victory in a battle to bring the Obama administration into compliance with the Constitution and federal law."

Highlights of the decision:

Christopher Crane, et al, plaintiffs v. Janet Napolitano, et al, defendants. Civil action no. 3:12-cv-03247-O

"The Directive sets forth to what extent, in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, DHS should enforce immigration laws 'against certain young people who were brought to this country as children and know only this country as home...The Directive instructs ICE officers to refrain from placing certain aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States into removal proceedings. It also directs ICE offices to facilitate granting deferred action to aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States and are already in removal proceedings but not yet subject to a final order of removal."

"The court finds that Congress's use of the word 'shall' in Section 1225(b)(2)(a) imposes a mandatory obligation on immigration officers to initiate removal proceedings against aliens they encounter who are not 'clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to be admitted'."

"Congress unquestionably has the ability to legislate in the area of immigration law with regard to the removal of alien. Because immigration law is not 'within [the Executive's} domain and beyond control by Congress,' Congress has the ability to eliminate DHS's discretion with respect to when to initiate removal proceedings against an alien, and DHS cannot implement measures that are incompatible with Congressional intent."

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