Federal Judge Rules Acting Secretary of DHS Had No Right to Reject DACA Applications


Greg Nash/Pool Photo via AP, File

By Araceli Cruz

November 16, 2020

“Chad Wolf was not lawfully serving as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security,” judge rules.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf doesn’t have the right to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program despite his attempts to do so. That is what a federal judge ruled on Saturday after Wolf sought to halt incoming DACA applications in late July. 

While the US Supreme Court stated the Trump administration could not suspend the DACA program in June, Wolf declared that the government would reject new DACA applications because they deemed the program still illegal.

On July 28, Wolf announced that they would seek ways to end DACA by reviewing the program further. During this review process, any incoming DACA applications would be rejected. 

RELATED: Joe Biden Admits Mistakes in Immigration During Obama Administration. Here’s His Plan to Reform Immigration

“As the Department continues looking at the policy and considers future action, the fact remains that Congress should act on this matter,” Wolf said in a statement. “There are important policy reasons that may warrant the full rescission of the DACA policy.”

On Saturday, however, Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled that Wolf had no right to make that call. 

“Wolf was not lawfully serving as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security under the HSA [Homeland Security Act] when he issued the Wolf Memorandum” that suspended DACA, he stated, according to court documents. 

California Democratic Latino lawmakers such as Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Jimmy Gomez, Lou Correa, Jimmy Gómez, and Linda Sánchez lauded the federal court ruling.

“This is a win for #DACA recipients, and for all of America!” Sánchez tweeted. “The vast majority of Americans believe that #DACA recipients’ #HomeIsHere. #DACA should be reinstated immediately.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also applauded the ruling and also made a dig at Wolf’s acting title with DHS.

“Really great day for DACA,” Cuomo tweeted. “Really bad day for Chad Wolf (some guy who has been pretending to have a job for over a year).”

President-elect Joe Biden has stated several times that he will ensure DACA is secure and will also create a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. However, he has yet to release the details of his immigration agenda. 

RELATED: DACA Recipients Are ‘Relieved’ Biden Won, But They Also Want Results

Biden stated that his administration will “modernize America’s immigration system” and “welcome immigrants in our communities.”

“As president, Biden will finish the work of building a fair and humane immigration system—restoring the progress Trump has cruelly undone and taking it further,” his website states. 


  • Araceli Cruz

    Araceli is Copper Courier's social media manager. Her past work has been published in The Guardian, Teen Vogue, Refinery29, Mic, The Cut, Zora, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and others.



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