U.S. Government Remains Firm on “Deferred Action” Despite Suit to Shut It Down


On Monday of this week, U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor held a hearing on a Complaint filed by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (“ICE”) agents who are challenging the federal “deferred action” program initiated by President Obama to suspend enforcement actions against immigrants who entered the country without authorization as innocent children.

The hearing took place as bipartisan groups in the U.S. Senate continued to work feverishly on legislation that would resolve the status of millions of undocumented immigrants working and living in the U.S. already.

O’Connor previously rebuked a government challenge to the lawsuit that the plaintiffs had no standing to sue, ruling that the plaintiff ICE agents had made a constitutionally sufficient allegation that they were compelled to violate the provisions of a federal statute – the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) – upon pain of adverse employment action. The ICE agents have argued that they are required by the INA to arrest aliens who are not clearly entitled to be admitted to the U.S. and process them for deportation hearings.

The administration’s “deferred action” initiative was clearly created with the intent of shifting immigration agency focus toward border security so that scarce resources can be dedicated to the removal of dangerous people as a first priority, but this suit could jeopardize that policy decision if it is allowed to go forward.

The U.S. government has opposed the bid for a court order blocking the “deferred action” program, asserting that the plaintiffs have shown no likelihood of imminent and irreparable injury, and that they cannot win on the merits.

The case, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas, is Crane v. Napolitano, 3:12-CV-03247.

As of now, the “deferred action” program is ongoing, and there is no indication that the government will halt the program or repeal any of its prior decisions with regard to determination of “deferred action” eligibility. But it would be wise for anyone considering a request for “deferred action” determination to obtain it now.

If you are an individual in need of immigration assistance, or help with a “deferred action” determination on your behalf, do not hesitate to contact our office for an appointment to speak with a qualified immigration lawyer at (847) 564-0712. You can also check out our immigration law Website for more information on how we might assist you in any of a variety of ways.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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