Gov. Phil Bryant, on behalf of the state of Mississippi, has joined ten officers and agents for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a lawsuit against Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton challenging the Obama Administration’s deferred action Directive and associated Prosecutorial Discretion Memorandum that prevent ICE officers, employees, and agents from fulfilling their sworn oath to uphold the law and defend the US Constitution. The amended complaint listing Mississippi as a plaintiff also adds USCIS Director Mayorkas as a defendant, since USCIS is tasked with granting deferred action and work permits to the bulk of illegal-alien applicants that will impact states’ budgets.
The Directive and the earlier memorandum instruct ICE officers to refrain from placing certain aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States into removal proceedings, in direct violation of federal immigration law. The Directive further instructs officers to take actions to facilitate the granting of deferred action to aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States. The Directive, entitled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children,” also directs DHS personnel to grant employment authorization to certain beneficiaries of the Directive.
“States must protect their borders while the federal government continues to ignore this growing problem,” Gov. Bryant said. “I believe this action by the Obama administration is unconstitutional and circumvents Congress’s authority. The fact remains that illegal immigration is a real issue with real consequences, and ignoring the rule of law is irresponsible. As governor, I cannot turn a blind eye to the problem of illegal immigration and its costs to Mississippi.”
When serving as State Auditor in 2006, Bryant issued a report entitled “The Impact of Illegal Immigration on Mississippi: Costs and Population Trends” that concluded that the net fiscal impact of illegal aliens in the State of Mississippi was at least $25 million per year.
Prior to the issuance of Napolitano’s Directive, a significant number of illegal aliens aged 30 and younger were removed from the State of Mississippi by the federal government each year. The implementation of the Directive will allow a significant number of illegal aliens aged 30 and younger, who would otherwise have been removed, to remain in Mississippi and impose a significant fiscal cost on the State, the lawsuit’s amended complaint alleges.
The amended complaint furthers states, “Illegal immigration imposes a wide variety of significant fiscal costs on Plaintiff the State of Mississippi and its taxpayers, including but not limited to: costs associated with educating illegal aliens in the State’s K-12 school system; costs related to uncompensated healthcare provided by state agencies, hospitals, and clinics; law enforcement costs associated with arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating illegal aliens in the State’s criminal justice system; and lost tax revenues and economic losses related to illegal aliens who work “off the books” and thereby avoid paying state taxes and/or who send “remittances” to relatives in foreign countries, diverting dollars that otherwise would remain in the State’s economy and generate additional state tax revenues.”
Mississippi was the second state to pass a mandatory E-Verify law for all employers.
Click here to read the lawsuit’s amended complaint.