DHS chief Chad Wolf unlawfully appointed, DACA suspension invalid: judge


A New York City federal judge on Saturday ruled that Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, assumed his position unlawfully. The judge invalidated Wolf’s suspension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era administrative relief from deportation which protects immigrant youth from deportation.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said the DHS “failed to follow the order of succession as it was lawfully designated.”

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court released a ruling asserting that President Donald Trump’s administration wrongly tried to halt protections under the DACA. The nation’s highest court ruled that the termination was “judicially reviewable, and done in an arbitrary and capricious manner, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).”

A month later, Wolf suspended DACA pending review. Judge Garaufis said, “Wolf was not lawfully serving as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security under the HSA [Homeland Security Act] when he issued the Wolf Memorandum” that suspended DACA.

Julián Castro, former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, took to Twitter to blast the Trump administration’s move to suspend the DACA program. He called the judge’s ruling “a great victory.”

“The Trump administration unlawfully undermined the DACA program, jeopardizing the futures of more than a million Dreamers, he said. “This ruling is a great victory for so many families who have become an essential part of our nation.”

Democrat Qasim Rashid, a human rights lawyer and activist, celebrated the news about the ruling that rejected Wolf’s authority to restrict DACA.

“Invalidate every single one of Trump’s horrific and unconstitutional orders,” he said in a tweet.

More than 600,000 people are part of DACA, which shields young people from deportation.

Karen Tumlin, a lawyer in the case and director of the Los Angeles-based Justice Action Center, branded the ruling as “another win for DACA recipients and those who have been waiting years to apply for the program for the first time”.

Wolf, alongside his acting deputy Ken Cuccinelli, has been at the forefront of the Trump administration’s initiatives on law enforcement and immigration.

The Government Accountability Office, a bipartisan congressional watchdog, said in August that the two were ineligible to helm the office under the Vacancies Reform Act.