An informal advisor to Mitt Romney is representing ten border patrol agents who filed a lawsuit seeking to force the Obama administration to continue the deportation of youths brought to U.S. illegally as children.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who earlier this year was considered Romney’s adviser on immigration policy, is the lead attorney in the suit against Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
“The Directive is an extension of the DREAM Act, which was rejected by Congress, and aims to grant an amnesty to 1.7 million illegal aliens,” Kobach said in a statement. “It violates federal immigration laws that require certain aliens to be placed in removal proceedings, it violates the Administrative Procedure Act, and it encroaches upon the legislative powers of Congress as defined in Article I of the United States Constitution.”
A two-year deferred deportation program enacted by the Obama administration in June provides certain rights to people who came to the United States as children and are currently living as undocumented immigrants. The program could benefit as many as 1.76 million people.
Only undocumented immigrants with no criminal history who are under 30 who have been in the country for five years or more, and who were less than 15 years old when they arrived are eligible to participate.
The new policy was praised by immigration rights advocates and supporters of the DREAM Act, which has stalled in Congress. But Republicans blasted the move, saying it undermined the objectives of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“This Directive not only circumvents Congress, it also infringes on the plaintiffs’ ability to fulfill the oath they made to uphold the laws of this country. The plaintiffs seek to prevent law enforcement officers from being forced to either violate federal law if they comply with the Directive or risk adverse employment action if they disobey the unlawful orders of the DHS Secretary,” Kobach said.
Kobach, who helped write Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law, was Romney’s immigration policy adviser during his 2008 presidential bid. This year, Romney officially considers Kobach to be a “supporter” but still consults with him regarding immigration policy.