Judge: DHS head didn't have authority to suspend DACA

Nellie Chapman
November 17, 2020

On Saturday, a federal judge ruled Chad Wolf was "not lawfully serving as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security" when he issued a memorandum that effectively suspended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; therefore, making the memo invalid.

The Trump administration has previously been chided by another federal judge and a government watchdog for violating the rules of succession at the Department of Homeland Security.

"Wolf was not lawfully serving as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security under the HSA [Homeland Security Act] when he issued the Wolf Memorandum", said Garaufis. The department has maintained that Wolf's appointment was legal even without Senate confirmation, which is still pending in the final weeks of the Trump administration.

Immigrants and immigration advocates have scored a legal victory.

The memo was issued more than a month after the Supreme Court ruled against efforts by the Trump administration to end DACA.

Tumlin, in a statement, pointed to the unwavering determination of the Trump administration - which includes immigration hardliner Stephen Miller - to attack the Obama-era program.

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to reinstate the program when he takes office.

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President Donald Trump formally nominated Wolf for the Homeland Secretary spot, but he has not gotten a full vote yet in the Senate.

"The court has reaffirmed what we always knew: Chad Wolf was not authorized to perform the functions of an acting secretary when he issued the July 28 DACA Memo", said Trudy S. Rebert, staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center.

She also tweeted November 16 that a hearing will take place November 18 to discuss what happens next.

After the Supreme Court in June ruled that Mr. Following the SCOTUS decision, a District Court in Maryland ordered the administration to begin accepting new DACA applicants.

According to an October 7 memo submitted by DHS in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY), after Gaynor became Acting Secretary, he exercised his authority to designate a new order of succession under which Wolf, as the Senate-confirmed Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans, would have immediately began serving as Acting DHS Secretary.

He also said the move would "aggravate the afflictions of many DACA recipients and aspirants, a significant portion of whom are essential workers" who are keeping vital parts of the economy running during the pandemic.

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