Chad Wolf, the appearing secretary of the Division of Homeland Safety (DHS), introduced his resignation on Monday, citing courtroom battles over the legality of his appointment to guide the sprawling bureaucratic juggernaut.
In a message to DHS workers obtained by CBS Information, Wolf stated he was “saddened” to resign and advised he was successfully compelled to take action.
“Sadly, this motion is warranted by current occasions, together with the continuing and meritless courtroom rulings concerning the validity of my authority as Appearing Secretary,” Wolf wrote. “These occasions and issues more and more serve to divert consideration and sources away from the essential work of the Division on this important time of a transition of energy.”
In response to DHS press secretary Chase Jennings, Wolf will stay on the division as head of its coverage and planning workplace, a second publish he held whereas serving as appearing secretary. He was confirmed to the below secretary place by the Republican-led Senate in 2019.
Wolf’s resignation comes three days after a federal choose in Californiathat his appointment as appearing secretary in November 2019 was possible illegal, blocking a set of sweeping asylum restrictions that have been slated to take impact Monday.
The Authorities Accountability Workplace (GAO), Congress’ investigative arm, and different federal courts have additionally concluded that DHS officers didn’t observe authorized necessities that dictate management appointments when Wolf was put in as appearing secretary.
A number of main Trump administration immigration insurance policies — together with restrictions on work permits for asylum-seekers and the deliberate suspension of the Obama-era Deferred Motion for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative for undocumented immigrants dropped at the U.S. as minors — have been blocked by federal judges who decided that Wolf didn’t have the authority to approve them.
Three days earlier than the courtroom ruling on Friday, Wolf’s nomination to be the everlasting, Senate-confirmed secretary of homeland secretary was withdrawn by the White Home. A Trump administration official with ties to Wolf stated the transfer positioned the appearing secretary designation on shaky authorized grounds, elevating issues about Wolf’s skill to proceed serving legally within the function.
Pete Gaynor, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Administration Company, will turn into appearing secretary upon Wolf’s resignation, which can take impact Monday at midnight.
“Proper now, our nation is dealing with vital challenges and it’s our privilege to assist the nationwide efforts to combat the pandemic and defend our homeland,” Gaynor stated in a message to FEMA personnel that was obtained by CBS Information. “I do know you’ll not waiver in your dedication to our mission.”
Whereas Ken Cuccinelli is the second-highest rating official at DHS, his appointment has additionally been decided to be invalid by the GAO. A federal choose final March individually concluded that Cuccinelli had been unlawfully appointed to his second publish as the top of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers.
Wolf’s resignation comes after the departure of two different Cupboard secretaries within the days because the assault on the Capitol. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Schooling Secretary Betsy DeVosfrom their posts within the wake of the assault.
Since beingafter the departure of then-acting secretary Kevin McAleenan in November 2019, Wolf has been a loyal supporter of President Trump’s immigration agenda, repeatedly touting his division’s efforts to limit asylum eligibility, assemble limitations alongside the U.S.-Mexico border and restrict momentary work applications.
Wolf was additionally a vocal defender of the federal authorities’s aggressive response to anti-racism protests and riots in Portland final summer time, when he dispatchedto the town regardless of opposition from native Democratic politicians.
Within the wake of the lethal assault on the U.S. Capitol by Mr. Trump’s supporters final week, Wolf issued an announcement strongly condemning the violence and calling on the president to forcefully denounce it. In the course of the assault, Wolf was in Bahrain to dealer safety and journey agreements with the federal government there.
A former senior DHS official who was granted anonymity to talk freely stated the division had targeted on “issues that have been politically essential to the White Home, not the core mission” throughout Wolf’s tenure.
John Sandweg, a former normal counsel at DHS in the course of the Obama administration, stated Wolf “leaves behind a tarnished legacy” because of the division’s politicization. “To attempt to restore his status right here with an early departure that maybe signifies some kind of protest with what occurred on January 6 is, I feel, too little too late,” Sandweg instructed CBS Information.
However Wolf strongly defended his report in his message to workers Monday, saying his job entailed “tough questions” and “exhausting choices.”
“Collectively, we’ve strengthened border safety, reformed our immigration system, stood up a world class cybersecurity company, elevated the worldwide aviation safety baseline, enhanced US Coast Guard readiness, countered malign nation-state affect, responded to numerous pure disasters, highlighted the very important work of the Federal Protecting Service, supported the safety of a number of federal and state elections, and proceed to answer a worldwide pandemic,” he stated.
Wolf additionally stated DHS is ready for “an orderly and easy transition” into President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. Mr. Biden has tapped Alejandro Mayorkas, a former federal prosecutor and Obama-era DHS official, to guide the division.
“Welcome them, educate them, and be taught from them,” Wolf instructed DHS workers. “They’re your leaders for the subsequent 4 years — a time which undoubtedly shall be filled with challenges and alternatives to indicate the American public the worth of DHS and why it’s definitely worth the funding.”
Nicole Sganga and Arden Farhi contributed to this report.