In July 2020, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Trump Administration’s previous attempt to undo the DACA program was unlawful, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memo barring new DACA applicants, limiting renewals to one year instead of two, and precluding DACA grantees from getting permission to travel internationally except in “exceptional circumstances.”
Now a federal court has ruled that because Wolf was not lawfully appointed to his position, he had no authority to issue the limiting memo.
The court ruling, out of the Eastern District of New York, joins another federal court in Maryland in finding Wolf was serving unlawfully. The Government Accountability Office has also issued a report finding Wolf in his role through an invalid order of succession. In response to the latest decision, DHS issued a statement calling the ruling the result of an “activist judge” and saying that it was “exploring its options to ensure its review of DACA continues as intended.”
Because Wolf was not properly appointed to his role and had no authority to issue the July 2020 memo, it seems that the memo has been invalidated and new DACA applicants should be able to apply under the original 2012 Napolitano memo. Extensions should also go back to two years at a time and requests for international travel permission should be evaluated under prior standards.
A new hearing has been scheduled to determine the ramifications of the court order on November 18, 2020. We expect further information to be available following that hearing and will provide updates as they become available.
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