A federal judge has restored DACA—which protects immigrants living in the US since childhood—to nearly full operation. That’s great, and I’m happy about it. But I’m even happier about how it happened: the judge ruled that acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf had been illegally named to his position and therefore had no authority to water down DACA in the first place. The Wall Street Journal explains:
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf issued a memorandum narrowing the program to existing applicants, who would be offered renewals of only one year, rather than two, and closing the program to any new candidates….The judge, Nicholas G. Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York, ruled it was improperly issued because Mr. Wolf hadn’t been properly appointed to his acting position. The ruling is the fifth to find that Mr. Wolf is serving illegally in his acting role, following a Government Accountability Office report that found Mr. Wolf and his predecessor, Kevin McAleenan, both had been improperly appointed under federal law on job vacancies.
….The court’s ruling doesn’t have the effect of removing Mr. Wolf from his role but adds to a growing set of rulings that have found that, as a result of his improper appointment, Mr. Wolf didn’t have the authority to issue numerous immigration and other policies.
It’s nice to see that the rule of law continues to operate. Donald Trump can continue to appoint fake cabinet members because he’s too lazy to seek Senate confirmation, and no one will kick his imposters out of their offices. But if they try to do anything important, a court will jerk them back to reality and tell them they have no real authority. Good.