A Maryland judge blocked the Trump administration from enforcing new asylum restriction this week and ruled that acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is serving in his role unlawfully.
Judge Paula Xinis, an Obama appointee, was narrowly confirmed to the federal bench in 2016 after having served as an activist lawyer with a noteworthy track record of bias against law-enforcement.
In a 69-page ruling, Xinis claimed that former acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan was unlawfully appointed, so he therefore lacked the “authority to amend the order of succession to ensure Wolf’s installation as acting secretary,” CNN reported
As a result, Wolf does not have the authority to impose new asylum rules that more than 20 state attorneys general are challenging, Xinis said.
The new restrictions would limit access to employment authorization for asylum-seekers.
One of these rules would require asylum-seekers to wait a year before applying for employment authorization, and the second would eliminate requirements that employment authorization applications be processed within a month.
Xinis ruled that these requirements ignore the “critical impact” they would have on immigrants seeking employment, and demonstrate that the DHS has “never wrestled with the fundamental implications of deferring or denying advance work authorization.”
The Democratic state attorneys general argued in their lawsuit that these new requirements are an attempt to “punish” immigrants.
“Not only is this decision welcome news for asylum seekers who were unfairly targeted by the Trump Administration, but the courts have now found that Chad Wolf has no authority at the Department of Homeland Security,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said of Xinis’s ruling.
Xinis’s ruling does not require Wolf to leave his post, nor is it likely that he will do so.
Democrats have already tried to argue that his No.2, Ken Cuccinelli, was improperly appointed, but Cuccinelli continues to serve as acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regardless.