Last year, the Obama Administration enacted a DREAM Act of sorts. This week, a judge indicated the Administration erred in doing so. From Businessweek:

Announced by Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last year, the directive gives agents the ability to defer action on people unlawfully in the U.S. if they came to the country under the age of 16, are in school or have obtained a high school diploma, haven’t been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanors, and aren’t a threat to public safety or national security.

“The court finds that DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings” when the requirements for deportation under a federal statute are met, O’Connor said today in a 38-page decision, referring to the Department of Homeland Security.

Still, the judge said he can’t decide the case based on the arguments he’s heard so far.

“Accordingly, the court hereby defers ruling on the plaintiffs’ application for preliminary injunction until the parties have submitted additional briefing,” O’Connor said.

The article is short, and worth reading. The Administration basically has three arguments in favor of the de facto DREAM Act:

First, DHS says it wanted to focus on border control “and the removal of dangerous people.” Which sounds reasonable  at first blush.

Second, to quote a Justice Department attorney, “The executive cannot remove 11 million people….the executive has authority to exercise its discretion.” In other words, the nation is unable to remove 11 million illegal immigrants, and thus must use finite resources to focus on those people the Administration considers most harmful.

Lastly, the same lawyer claimed one of the plaintiffs – the immigration agents’ union – did not have the legal standing to bring the lawsuit forward:

Adam Kirschner, a lawyer for the Justice Department, told O’Connor at the hearing the case was, in reality, an employment dispute and that the agents can’t demonstrate they’ve been harmed. “These agents do not like the way the agency has prioritized the use of its resources,” he said.

This lawsuit brings up all sorts of interesting thoughts about immigration and border control, including:

  1. Tea Party Patriots position is that nothing should happen with regards to immigration “reform” until and unless Congress secures the border first. Assuming Secretary Napolitano is actually trying to do this, could her actions be acceptable?
  2. Secretary Napolitano’s actions clearly ignore existing law. DHS states that given finite resources, this could simply be a prioritization of resources. On the other hand, the Administration is all but granting permanent status to a millions of illegal immigrants.
  3. The Administration is claiming people who are not physical dangers to the country shouldn’t be targeted by law enforcement but ignores the threat to the nation’s fiscal situation caused by illegal immigration.

For all the frustration Tea Party activists rightly feel at the state of our nation, the justice system has held the Administration accountable as of late. Here’s hoping this particular judge is able to set the stage for Secretary Napolitano to follow all laws, not just the ones she likes.