Federal decide guidelines appearing DHS chief Chad Wolf illegally appointed, invalidating DACA suspension
Acting Secretary of State for Homeland Security Chad Wolf looks up during the launch of a new initiative to combat the sexual exploitation of online children during a press conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, United States, on March 5, 2020.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters
A federal judge in New York City said Saturday that Chad Wolf did not lawfully act as homeland security chief and therefore his removal of protection from a class of migrants illegally brought to the United States as children is invalid.
The US Supreme Court ruled in June that the Trump administration had mistakenly tried to end protection under Obama-era legislation known as DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. However, on July 28, Wolf suspended the DACA until it was checked.
Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis said court conferences would be held to work out details of his decision.
He concluded that "Wolf was not lawfully serving as acting minister of homeland security under the HSA [Homeland Security Act] when he issued the Wolf Memorandum," which suspended the DACA.
Karen Tumlin, attorney on the case and director of the Los Angeles-based Justice Action Center, said the verdict meant, "The efforts in the Wolf memo to core the DACA program have been canceled."
She said the ruling applies to more than a million people, including newer applicants and those seeking a two-year extension for protection under DACA.
"This is really a hopeful day for many young people across the country," said Tumlin.
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Although President Donald Trump officially nominated Wolf for the job last summer, Wolf has yet to get a full Senate vote in order to maintain his "doer" role. Garaufis quoted the Government Accountability Office, which wrote in a report to Congress in August that Wolf was the beneficiary of an "invalid succession order".
The judge described an illegitimate shuffling of executive chairs in the Department of Homeland Security, the immigration enforcement agency, because of the plight of Wolf's leadership and that of his predecessor Kevin McAleenan.
"On the basis of the clear text of the operational succession order," Garaufis wrote in Saturday's decision, "neither Mr. McAleenan nor Mr. Wolf had the legal authority to act as acting secretary. Hence the Wolf Memorandum was not." an exercise of legal authority. "
The ruling is part of an ongoing trial in which DACA beneficiary Martín Jonathan Batalla Vidal is the lead plaintiff in a six plaintiff case against Wolf and the Department of Homeland Security. The lawsuit initially challenged the state of Texas to attempt to thwart the DACA.
On Saturday, the National Immigration Law Center responded to the verdict on Twitter: "VICTORY!"