A federal judge, appointed by former President Obama, has ruled that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli was not previously “lawfully appointed” to his job as Acting Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
In a federal ruling on Sunday, U.S. District Judge Randolph D. Moss sided with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services — an open borders lobbying group — by stating that Cuccinelli had not been lawfully named to head USCIS in an acting role and thus his policies implemented during his tenure are void.
The ruling states:
Plaintiffs, five individual native Honduran asylum seekers (two adults and three of their minor children) and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (“RAICES”), a nonprofit organization that provides legal services to refugees, challenge the lawfulness of the Asylum Directives on multiple grounds. First, they allege that Cuccinelli was not lawfully appointed to serve as the acting Director of USCIS and that, as a result, the Asylum Directives must be set aside under the Appointments Clause… [Emphasis added]
On the merits, the Court concludes that Cuccinelli was not lawfully appointed to serve as acting Director and that, as a result, he lacked authority to issue the reduced-time-to-consult and prohibition-on-extensions directives. The remedy for that deficiency, moreover, is compelled by the FVRA and the APA: the Asylum Directives must be set aside. Finally, having reached that conclusion, the Court need not—and does not—reach Plaintiffs’ alternative legal challenges. [Emphasis added]
Attorneys with the American Immigration Council celebrated the ruling as a broader effort to end President Donald Trump’s asylum reforms:
Aaaaand we’re off on a Sunday morning/afternoon(?) with another huge legal victory in the fight to preserve asylum!
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) March 1, 2020
The ruling means that DHS and USCIS will have to process the asylum claims of five Honduran nationals again after their credible fear claims were denied and they were ordered deported.
The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The case number is 1:19-cv-02676-RDM.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.