The Yale Law Journal Online: A Defense of Immigration-Enforcement Discretion

The Yale Law Journal Online has just published A Defense of Immigration Enforcement Discretion: The Legal and Policy Flaws of Kris Kobach’s Latest Crusade, an essay by David A. Martin. The essay disputes the legal claims set forth in a recent lawsuit that seeks to invalidate a policy of the Department of Homeland Security. The policy gives protection against deportation to unauthorized immigrants who came to the country as children, and the Department defends it as an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. The plaintiffs claim that no such discretion exists, because the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended in 1996, requires that virtually all aliens who entered without inspection be detained and placed in removal proceedings whenever encountered by immigration agents. Closely examining the statutory language and drawing on the author’s own extensive involvement as General Counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the 1996 consideration of legislative amendments and administrative implementation, the essay makes the case that the plaintiffs’ argument misunderstands both Congress’s intent and consistent agency practice before and after those amendments.

Preferred Citation: David A. Martin, A Defense of Immigration-Enforcement Discretion: The Legal and Policy Flaws in Kris Kobach’s Latest Crusade, 122 YALE L.J. ONLINE 167 (2012), http://yalelawjournal.org/2012/12/20/martin.html.

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