New York – A federal judge in New York on Saturday ruled that the Homeland Security Secretary is an acting department. Chad Wolf Took his place illegally, which stopped the Wolf Deferred Action for Childhood arrival program, which protects young people from deportation.
“The DHS failed to follow the order of succession because it was legally appointed,” wrote U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garafis. “Therefore, the actions taken by the intended Acting Secretaries who are not properly in their roles in accordance with the law are taken without legal authority.”
Wolf issued a memorandum suspending the DACA in July, with the DHS review pending. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled a month ago that President Donald Trump failed to follow the rules when he tried to end the program, but the judges left a window open for him to try again.
About 650,000 people are part of the DACA, which allows young immigrants brought into the country as children to work legally and protect them from deportation.
Attorney Karen Thumlin, who represented the plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Wolf’s authority, called the ruling “another victory for DACA recipients and those who have waited years to apply for the program for the first time.”
In August, the Government Accountability Office, a bipartisan congressional watchdog, said Wolf and his acting deputy, Ken Cusinelli, were acting improperly and ineligible to run the agency under the vacant reform law. Both are at the forefront of administrative programs on immigration and law enforcement.
The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked Trump’s attempt to end the ‘Dreamers’ immigration program
In a judgment handed down by Garafis on Saturday, the judge wrote that the DHS did not follow the succession order established when then-Secretary Kirsten Nielsen resigned in April 2019. Kevin McLean, Nielsen’s successor, was not legally in office until his resignation in October 2019, Garafis wrote.
The DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The department said Wolf’s appointment was legal in the last weeks of the Trump administration, even without pending Senate confirmation.
President-elect Joe Biden plans to reappoint the DACA and use executive orders to thwart some of Trump’s other immigration measures.
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