September 6, 2017 | Sabrina Clay, CCWP
What is DACA? Also known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA was enacted in 2012 and is a deportation relief program focused on protecting immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children. For those that applied, this program also provides work permits, enabling them to support themselves while they await legalization and is renewable in two-year increments.
Among the questions as to what will happen to the nearly 800,000 people affected (if DACA is phased out) is the fate of those work permits. According to a recent Center for American Progress study in August, a reported 91 percent of respondents are currently employed with 5 percent having opened their own business. The study also revealed an average of 30,000 people will be out of work each month if DACA is repealed.
Many companies may be unaware they employ DACA recipients because the paperwork looks very similar to what is issued for many other visa categories. Understandably, employers are concerned about workforce impact and determining how to react. Rather than taking action that is leading toward identification of those who may be DACA recipients, multiple legal pundits suggest making sure your “house” is in order to mitigate risk. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help:
Again, we do not know if work authorizations will be immediately terminated or if they will be phased out. What we do know is I-9 practices should be tightened to ensure that they are stored properly and kept up to date according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidelines.
As a friendly reminder, there is a new I-9 form in town, released on July 17th. While you may continue using form I-9 with a revision date of 11/14/16 through September 17th, on September 18th, employers must use the revised form. The new form will be available from the USCIS website at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/whats-new. The changes are relatively minor, including additions to the list of acceptable documents and amendment to the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices newer name “Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.” Employers will continue utilizing existing storage and retention guidelines for previously completed I-9’s.