Chad Wolf’s DACA Suspension Unlawful, Says Federal Judge

By Kevin Deutsch
kdeutsch@bronxjusticenews.com

A federal judge Saturday ruled that Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf ascended to his position unlawfully, thus invalidating his suspension of DACA — the Obama-era program that protected thousands of Bronx residents from deportation.

Wolf, whose selection by President Donald Trump ignored the position’s legally sanctioned order of succession, suspended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in July, shortly after taking the helm at DOH.

His move was in line with the Trump administration’s broader policy of hard-line immigration enforcement, and long-standing pattern of demonizing immigrants.

“DHS failed to follow the order of succession as it was lawfully designated,” U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis, a New York jurist, wrote in his decision. “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’ ruling comes months after the nation’s bipartisan watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, deemed Wolf and his second-in-command, Ken Cuccinelli, ineligible to serve in their new positions under the Vacancies Reform Act.

The lawful order of succession that should have been followed after the 2019 resignation of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was instead ignored by the administration, invalidating decisions like the DACA suspension, Garaufis ruled.

The decision could mean a new generation gets to apply for DACA status during the administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

About Kevin Deutsch 220 Articles
Kevin Deutsch is a Staff Writer for Bronx Justice News covering the criminal justice system, drugs, and DNA use by law enforcement. An award-winning journalist, Deutsch is the author of the true crime books "Pill City" and "The Triangle." He has worked on staff at the Daily News, Miami Herald, Newsday, The Palm Beach Post, and The Riverdale Press. His work has also appeared in Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Forward, The Independent, Huffington Post, Orlando Sentinel, and the New York Post, among other publications. His numerous television appearances include spots on CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN's BookTV. He has also been featured in The New Yorker. A Bronx resident, Deutsch hosts the true crime podcast "A Dark Turn" on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network.