On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided "lawful presence" status, including work authorization to nearly 800,000 undocumented individuals brought to the U.S. as children before reaching age 16. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently released important FAQs on the wind-down of the program.
Background. DACA was available only to applicants meeting the following categorical criteria, who:
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- Came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
- Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
- Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;
- Are currently in school, have graduated, or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Key Takeaways for MRA Members:
- Current DACA recipients will keep their work permits and deferred action grants until they expire (two years after issuance).
- Initial DACA applications for employment authorization that are pending will be processed, but no new initial DACA requests received after September 5, 2017, will be accepted.
- Renewal DACA applications and associated applications for employment authorization that are pending will be processed. USCIS will also continue accepting renewal applications through October 5, 2017, for existing DACA recipients whose benefits expire March 5, 2018, or earlier.
As the DACA program winds down over the next six months, Congress will have an opportunity to address and pursue reforms to the immigration system. In the meantime, employers should treat employees the same as they did before September 5, 2017, and should continue to accept unexpired work authorization documents as satisfactory evidence of work authorization to complete or re-verify an I-9 form. MRA recommends that you do not inquire whether any specific employee is a DACA recipient.
Our 24/7 HR Advisors are available to answer your questions at 866-HR-HOTLINE (866-474-6854), or email InfoNow@mranet.org.
Source: Michael Hyatt, HR Government Affairs Director, MRA – The Management Association