Judge Nicholas Garaufis concluded that Chad Wolf's decision to suspend the program was invalid since he was only appointed as an "acting" secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.

Por Alma Sacasa
Noviembre 16, 2020

On Saturday, a federal judge ruled that Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf did not have the authority to issue a directive that blocked new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Brooklyn-based Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled that steps the Trump administration took last year to install Wolf at the Department of Homeland Security without Senate confirmation were unlawful and invalid.

"DHS failed to follow the order of succession as it was lawfully designated," Garaufis, who is an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, wrote. "Therefore, the actions taken by purported Acting Secretaries, who were not properly in their roles according to the lawful order of succession, were taken without legal authority."

Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In June, the United States Supreme Court had already ruled that the Trump administration's decision to rescind DACA in 2017 was illegal. They did, however, acknowledge that the administration "may properly rescind DACA in the future," though time for them to do so is rapidly dwindling.

Wolf followed that decision with a memo stating that DACA would be rescinded "after an orderly wind-down process" which would "facilitate implementation of the specific changes to the DACA policy," but Garaufis said Wolf did not have the authority to make that decision since he was only appointed as an "acting secretary."

Chad Wolf

According to Politico, the "immediate beneficiaries" of the court's decision are immigrants eligible for DACA, who can now apply, and current recipients who have not been allowed to leave the U.S. and come back without forgoing their DACA status.

"This is an incredible victory for DACA recipients and first-time applicants like me," said Johana Larios, a plaintiff in the case, in a statement through the National Immigration Law Center. "DACA has opened so many opportunities for hundreds of thousands of youth and now I hope to be able to go through with my application. With DACA, I hope to be able to return to school and feel safe from being separated from my young children."


Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro celebrated Garaufis's ruling, calling it a "great victory" in a tweet. "The Trump administration unlawfully undermined the DACA program, jeopardizing the futures of more than a million Dreamers," he wrote. "This ruling is a great victory for so many families who have become an essential part of our nation."