DACA – Employers and what is means for Employees
President Donald Trump has announced the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has provided removal protection and temporary work permits to nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as children. No new DACA applications will be taken after September 5, 2017 meanwhile current DACA participants will keep their deportation protection status and temporary work permits until those benefits expire. After October 5, no DACA renewable applications will be allowed.
The decision to rollback the DACA program has raised a number of important questions for businesses that employ DACA workers.
What would happen to workers? Employees who have received work permits, also known as Employment Authorization Cards, through the DACA program may continue to work until their work permits expire.
What about when the permit expires? When an employee’s work permit expires, the employer must verify the employee on Form I-9. If the employee presents documents establishing work eligibility – such as, green cards or other forms of immigration relief – the employee may continue working.
Can employers terminate DACA employees? No. Terminating DACA employees with valid work authorization could lead to discrimination claims based on national origin or race.
Is there anything employers can do to put DACA employees at ease? Some employers may want to reassure DACA employees during this uncertain time. Employers should avoid making unnecessary promises, including ones about future employment, which they may not be able to keep. Employers, however, may contact their representatives in Congress and lobby for legislation to maintain the protection of DACA employees.