Fed judge rules DACA order invalid, says acting DHS head Chad Wolf was ‘not lawfully serving’

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A federal judge ruled Saturday that Acting Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf’s July order suspending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is invalid because he was not appointed lawfully to his position.

All of which may prove to be a moot point if Joe Biden finds his way to the White House, considering he vowed to “provide access to citizenship” for the 12-20 million illegal immigrants in America.


Wolf issued a July memo limiting applications and renewals for the DACA program, and U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis said he was “not lawfully serving” at the time, according to Law & Crime. The Clinton appointee also granted certification for program recipients adversely affected by the directive to file a class action lawsuit.

More from Law & Crime:

On Aug. 14, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO)—Congress’s investigative arm—issued a non-binding legal opinion concluding that Wolf was not the correct official in the line of succession at DHS to assume the role.

Acting quickly, the plaintiffs in the initial DACA case filed documents later in August month asking the court to direct DHS to fully reinstate DACA, alleging that Wolf had unlawfully assumed the role of Acting Secretary and therefore did not have the authority to issue directives mandating substantive changes to the program’s operations.


The Trump administration tried ending DACA in 2017, only to be deterred by the US Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling that saw Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberal jurists on the bench.

President Trump formally nominated Wolf over the summer, but he has yet to get a full vote in the Senate.

“DHS failed to follow the order of succession as it was lawfully designated. 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,” Garaufis wrote.  “Accordingly, Mr. Wolf did not possess statutory authority when he assumed the role of Acting Secretary in November 2019.”

The judge held that when former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned from the role, her replacement, Kevin McAleenan, was not authorized to take her place and his eventual delegation of the role to Wolf was “not an authorized agency action” Law & Crime reported.

Garaufis’ ruling included granting plaintiffs’ motion for class certification.

“By issuing the Wolf Memorandum, Defendants’ actions affected all members of the proposed Class, and declaratory or injunctive relief to vacate the Wolf Memorandum would be an appropriate remedy with respect to each Class member,” his order stated. “Likewise, for the members of the proposed Subclass whose applications USCIS failed to review according to the Napolitano Memorandum, the same relief would be appropriate for all of its members.”

Karen Tumlin, a lawyer in the case and director of the Los Angeles-based Justice Action Center, said the ruling applies to more than a million people, including more recent applicants and those seeking two-year renewals for protection under DACA, according to NBC News.

“This is really a hopeful day for a lot of young people across the country,” Tumlin said.

Young illegal immigrants… who may benefit more than anyone if Biden is certified as the next president, considering he will undo all the progress made under Trump over the past four years to get illegal immigration in check.

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Tom Tillison


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