The Recession of DACA: What to Do For Your Employees Now

By: Angelita Chavez-Halaka

President Trump’s September 5th decision to rescind the Deferred Action to Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will impact employers.   The program will eventually end in 6 months, but not without the opportunity for DACA employees to extend their work authorization.

To date, over 800,000 initial DACA application have been approved, 76% of these individuals are employed in industries across the country.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released a report in 2016 which found that immigrants and subsequent generations make valuable contributions to U.S.’ economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship.  The study found that the estimated GDP growth due to contributions of immigrant workers was nearly $2 trillion and that children of immigrants are among the strongest fiscal contributors in the U.S. population overall.  The recession of DACA is estimated to cost $433.4 billion in lost GDP over 10 years.

Employers with DACA employees should assess their workforce. Here’s what employers need to know:

  • First, current DACA employees have until October 5, 2017 to file extensions on their application and EAD.  Specifically, DACA recipients whose work authorization will expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 must file an application to renew their status by October 5, 2017.
  • Second, no new DACA applications will be accepted after Sept 5, 2017. This means that DACA applicants who are currently renewing will have valid employment documentation until it expires. For some, this might be 2 years from now.
  • Third, remember that on March 5, 2018, the Trump Administration will officially rescind DACA.
  • Finally, DACA employees will no longer be able to apply for Advanced Parole (AP) to travel abroad.  For now, previously approved AP will remain valid.  Any pending AP applications, however, will be administratively closed by the USCIS, with fees returned.

In addition, employers should keep in mind they have a legal obligation not to discriminate and terminate or reject applicants in anticipation of expiring EADs.

We encourage employers to stay in touch with us about potential changes in Congress that may benefit their DACA employees.   For instance, the following are pending in Congress in 2017: The Bridge Act (HR 496), The 2017 Dream Act (S. 1615 and HR 3440) and The Hope Act (HR 3591).

In the meantime, some employers would be surprised to know that some DACA recipients may be eligible for other forms of immigration relief.  For instance, your DACA employees may be eligible for other forms of relief such as 245a, 245i, U-Visa, VAWA, etc.  Please contact your immigration attorney for an assessment.

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