Deferred Action Program Under Fire; Arguments Come Before Judge


Gaby Perez files for deferred action in Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo)
By Alexandra Lucia-Miller
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has allowed approximately 250,000 undocumented immigrants deportation reprieve and work authorization, has come under fire by immigration agents, VOXXI reports.
According to the report, 10 Immigration and Customs Enforcing (ICE) agents are challenging DACA in court. The lawsuit, Crane vs. Napolitano, was filed in August and aims to block Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s directive to ICE agents to allow qualified undocumented youth to remain free in the country.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor is hearing the case.
Through the program, immigrants obtain employment authorization and are allowed to work without the fear of being deported.
Since mid-March, the federal government has received more than 450,000 applications for the program.
Raul Zamora, 23, is just one young immigrant who has benefited from DACA. Zamora, who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, was able to start his own construction services and consulting company.
“I feel like now I am part of this country, and I can contribute to the U.S. with my work and taxes,” he said.
President of the ICE Council and lead plaintiff Chris Crane said that there are undocumented workers who claim they qualify for the deferred action program and are pardoned by agents, despite providing actual proof.
“The ICE agents suing argue the directive keeps them from enforcing federal immigration laws that require them to initiate removal proceedings against all immigrants who entered the country illegally,” the report said. “They also say they risk losing their jobs if they don’t follow the directive.”
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Crane’s attorney, said the order “commands ICE officers to violate their oaths to uphold and support federal law.’” Kobach also said President Obama acted against the Constitution by asking Napolitano to issue the directive.
However, attorneys for the Obama administration argued that the directive was compliant with all federal laws and that the president was acting “within his executive authority” by asking Napolitano to issue it last June.
If O’Connor rules in favor of the ICE agents, business owner Raul Zamora, and thousands of other young immigrants, fear they will not be able to continuing the lives they have created for themselves in the United States.
However, American Immigration Council attorney Ben Winograd, said he believes “the lawsuit has little chance of standing up in court.”
(AP/Ross D. Franklin Photo)