The agents filed suit Thursday against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton, challenging a decision to allow people brought to the United States before age 16 who meet specific criteria to apply for a two-year grace period from deportation, CNN reported.
The complaint, filed in a federal court in Dallas, also objects to the policy of "prosecutorial discretion" in which ICE agents are directed to focus on dangerous criminals who are illegal immigrants.
NumbersUSA, an organization that says it is "for lower immigration," said on its Web site it was "financing the effort" of the agents' suit.
NumbersUSA's Web post also said Kris Kobach, an informal adviser to presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, represents the suing agents, CNN said.
"We are federal law enforcement officers who are being ordered to break the law. This directive puts ICE agents and officers in a horrible position," Chris Crane, one of the complainants and president of the ICE agents and officers union, was quoted as saying in a release posted on the NumbersUSA Web site.
Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler said, "DHS uses prosecutorial discretion to assist in focusing vigorously on the removal of individuals who are convicted criminals, repeat immigration law violators, and recent border-crossers."
Chandler said the directive was a temporary measure to ensure "responsible young people, who are Americans in every way but on paper, have an opportunity to remain in the country and make their fullest contribution."