A Misplaced Crusade

A Misplaced Crusade

"On August 23, 11 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers sued to block the Obama administration's program for granting deferred action to long-time U.S. residents who came here illegally as children.  Those who receive deferred action, based on a careful application process, will be shielded from deportation for two years (potentially renewable) and can receive work authorization.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) justifies this program as a systematic and thoughtful way of exercising prosecutorial discretion, by withholding enforcement, after careful screening, against youthful arrivals not culpable for their unauthorized entry.  The plaintiffs argue that the statutes, as amended in 1996, leave no room for such discretion.  Policy objections to the new program are fair game, of course.  But as a lawsuit, this is a very strange beast, and its full and disturbing implications have not been widely noted." - David Martin, Oct. 29, 2012.

David A. Martin is the Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law at the University of Virginia.  He served as general counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1995 to 1998 and as principal deputy general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 through 2010.