The HR Digest

DACA – Employers and what is means for Employees

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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.

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