Judge Rules Acting DHS Secretary’s Appointment Unlawful
By: Rachel Horner
In New York, a U.S. federal judge has blocked DHS secretary Chad Wolf from restructuring DACA permits. Justice Garaufis ruled that Wolf’s promotion to the position of secretary was unlawful; therefore, Wolf’s decision to reduce the validity of DACA permits, as well as to reject new DACA applications, is beyond the scope of his power.
Chad Wolf proposed multiple restrictions to the DACA program that would significantly harm its recipient by reducing work authorization and protection from deportation from two years to one. He also stated that those who submitted new DACA applications would not be accepted into the program.
The federal judge did not say whether DHS must reverse Wolf’s memo, but he requested both sides to hold a conference on the issue in the near future. Joe Biden, who will become president in January, has stated that he plans to restore DACA to its pre-Trump administration status. However, while the Trump Administration presently remains in Congress, the future of DACA remains uncertain.
In the meantime, it is likely that other decisions made by Chad Wolf will be challenged, especially as Trump’s presidency comes to an end. In fact, Garaufis’ ruling comes after a Maryland judge blocked Wolf’s decision from enforcing restrictions on asylum seekers in September, under the same justifications: Wolf’s current status of power was not granted legally and, therefore, any decisions that come with said power are invalid.
It will be interesting to see how judges will react as more of the Trump Administration’s changes to the immigration system are reversed. Does Joe Biden’s vision of immigration mean the system will return to how it once was, or does it mean that we still have years of reforms ahead of us? The more progressive incoming administration may encourage judges, like Garaufis, to continue to block unconstitutional policies in the next couple of months, as they know the president’s support will be behind them.