On August 23, 2012, law enforcement officers employed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a component agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleging violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1225 by the heads of DHS and ICE. Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for injunctive relief preventing the implementation of a Directive issued by the Secretary of Homeland Security entitled "Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children" ("the Directive") and a Memorandum entitled "Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion Consistent with the Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities of the Agency for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens" (the "Morton Memorandum"). Plaintiffs claimed that the Directive commanded ICE officers to violate federal law, compelled them to violate their oaths of office, violated the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), unconstitutionally usurped and encroached upon the legislative powers of Congress, as defined in Article I of the United States Constitution, and violated the obligation of the executive branch to faithfully execute the law, as required by Article II, Section 3, of the United States Constitution. On October 10, 2012, the ICE employees were joined by the State of Mississippi as a plaintiff in an Amended Complaint.
On January 24, 2013, the Court (Judge Reed C. O'Connor) granted in part and denied in part the government's November 13, 2012 Motion to Dismiss. Crane v. Napolitano, 920 F.Supp.2d 724 (N.D. Tex. 2013). The Court held that venue was appropriate in the Northern District of Texas. With respect to several of the ICE Agent Plaintiffs' causes of action the Court found that these Plaintiffs had not suffered an injury-in-fact, and therefore lacked standing to pursue the claims. In particular, the Court found that even if following the Directive and the Morton Memorandum did require them to violate their oaths to uphold the Constitution, and to alter their employment conduct, neither effect injured them concretely enough to support standing. However, the Court found that the allegation that the Directive and Memo compelled the plaintiffs to violate a federal statute upon pain of adverse employment action did satisfy the requirements of standing. (With respect to one additional asserted cause of action, relating to the issuance of employment authorization to aliens covered by the Directive/Memo, the Court noted that the plaintiffs were not involved in employment authorization decisions and did not articulate a way in which employment authorization harmed them personally. Thus, the Court dismissed without prejudice Plaintiffs' third cause of action.)
With respect to the State of Mississippi, the court found that Mississippi's asserted fiscal injury was purely speculative because there was no concrete evidence that the costs associated with the presence of illegal aliens in the state of Mississippi have increased or will increase as a result of the Directive or the Morton Memorandum. The Court held that Mississippi failed to allege an injury-in-fact sufficient to satisfy the constitutional requirements of standing and dismissed the state of Mississippi's claims without prejudice.
The federal government also asserted that this Court lacks jurisdiction because Plaintiffs' claims are federal employment disputes subject to the Civil Service Reform Act ("CSRA"), but the Court deferred ruling on this claim until trial because Defendant's claim that the CSRA precludes federal-court jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims had been inadequately briefed.
On April 23, 2013, the Court (Judge Reed O'Connor) held a hearing regarding Plaintiffs' Application for Preliminary Injunctive Relief. The Court concluded that Plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the Directive and related provisions of the Morton Memorandum violate 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(2)(A), but deferred ruling until the parties provided the Court with additional briefing regarding the CSRA dispute. Crane v. Napolitano, 2013 WL 1744422 (N.D. Tex. 2013).
The CSRA was then fully briefed, and on July 31, 2013, the Court (Judge Reed C. O'Connor) dismissed the remainder of the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The Court found that since Plaintiff's claims were based on their challenge to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals after Plaintiff's non-compliance with the program led to the threat of workplace disciplinary action against them, the dispute must be governed by the CSRA's comprehensive and exclusive remedial scheme provided by Congress. Thus, the Court held that it did not have subject-matter jurisdiction to address Plaintiffs' claims. Crane v. Napolitano, 2013 WL 8211660 (N.D. Tex. 2013).
Plaintiffs appealed. On July 22, 2015, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the District Court. Crane v. Johnson, 783 F.3d 244 (5th Cir. 2015). This ended the case.Frances Hollander - 10/19/2015