Responding to Possible Rescission of DACA

August, 2017


By Jenna Reed, JD, MBA, General Counsel, Director of Compliance Services
Cascade Employers Association
jreed@cascadeemployers.com

Early this month, the Trump Administration announced it was going to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program established by the Obama Administration in 2012. DACA authorizes young adults who were brought to the US as children illegally by their parents to live and work legally in the United States. The Administration set a rescission date of March 5, 2018 in order to allow Congress time to address this issue through legislation such as the DREAM Act of 2017.

For employers, the impact could be significant with approximately 800,000 individuals (commonly referred to as Dreamers) participating this program, the majority of which are legally employed. If their work permits expire they could face deportation leaving a gaping hole for many employers.

The Latino Community Association provided a few important things for DACA recipients and employers to know:

  • No current DACA recipients are affected until March 5, 2018 – at the earliest. One exception is someone holding a permit that expires before March 5, 2018.
  • October 5, 2017 is the deadline to renew DACA for anyone whose permit expires between now and March 5, 2018.
  • DACA permits will be honored until their expiration date, which could be as late as March 5, 2020.

The Department of Homeland Security’s FAQ on DACA is also a great resource for both DACA participants and employers.

While it is important for employers to be looking at and planning for the potential impact, it’s also important to not overreact. For example, while employers face many legal consequences for employing unauthorized workers, employers should not take any employment actions now against current employees or applicants based on their temporary work authorizations. As long as their authorizations have not expired, they are eligible to continue working. Taking an action now, such as terminating them due to the possible expiration of their work authorization at a later date, could result in significant legal liability. However, if the DACA rescission goes ahead as planned and no other legislation is passed, employers should review work authorizations to ensure current employees have unexpired authorizations and are legally authorized to continue to work.

Cascade will continue to keep employers updated about this important issue. Of course, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you have.

 

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