On Saturday (Nov. 14), a federal judge in New York City struck down acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf’s suspension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in late July, calling it unlawful.
The U.S. Supreme Court had already ruled the month before 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” depending on the “determination of illegality, which may fall to Congress.”
Wolf followed that decision with a memo stating that DACA would be rescinded “after an orderly wind-down process” and when they “facilitate implementation of the specific changes to the DACA policy.”
The problem, according to U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis, is that Wolf, who was named to his post in November 2019, did not have the authority to make such a decision since he was not confirmed by the Senate and was only appointed as an “Acting Secretary.”
“DHS failed to follow the order of succession as it was lawfully designated,” wrote Garaufis, according to Politico. “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.”
Politico reports that the “immediate beneficiaries” of the court’s decision Saturday are immigrants eligible for DACA, who can now apply, and current Dreamers who have not been allowed to leave the U.S. and return 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.”
Support for current and future DACA recipients was immediate on social media. Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro called Garaufis’ ruling a “great victory.”
The Trump administration unlawfully undermined the DACA program, jeopardizing the futures of more than a million Dreamers.
This ruling is a great victory for so many families who have become an essential part of our nation. https://t.co/JUxOIjKX5m
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) November 14, 2020