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JACKSON — Governor Phil Bryant, on behalf of the state of Mississippi, today joined a federal lawsuit challenging Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s directive ordering federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers not to enforce federal immigration laws or initiate removal proceedings against a broad class of approximately 1.7 million illegal immigrants.

The lawsuit, Crane et al. v. Napolitano, was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas by a group of ten individual ICE officers. The officers filed the lawsuit because Napolitano’s directive requires them to violate the oath they took to support and uphold federal immigration laws. They contend that the Obama administration’s wholesale refusal to enforce immigration laws usurps Congress’s authority to regulate immigration and violates the constitutional separation of powers and the president’s obligation to enforce federal law.

“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.”

Bryant is joining the lawsuit on behalf of Mississippi based on the significant fiscal costs that illegal immigration imposes on the state.

While serving as state auditor in 2006, Bryant issued a report that detailed the financial impact of illegal immigration on Mississippi. The report concluded that the net cost of illegal immigration in Mississippi exceeds $25 million annually. This includes significant education, law enforcement and health care costs, as well as substantial lost tax revenues and other economic losses.

Mississippi is being represented in the case, at no cost to taxpayers, by immigration law expert Kris Kobach and Michael Jung, a highly regarded Texas attorney.

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