How Does DACA Affect My Business?

Immigration Laws On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration announced that it was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). President Trump then gave Congress six months to find a better solution. Since President Obama started DACA, over 800,000 immigrants have used the program to stop deportation, obtain jobs, apply for drivers’ licenses, and receive other benefits without going through formal immigration procedures. With the possible end of DACA looming, business owners across the country may face difficult choices.

 

What Is DACA?

DACA stands the for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.

In 2001, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin introduced the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.  The DREAM Act would grant residency rights to individuals who entered the United States illegally as children.  Congress has never passedon the Act, despite it being reintroduced, in a number of different versions, several times.  With no protection in sight, the Obama Administration took a different route. In 2012, President Obama started the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), essentially through an executive order.  Taking a cue from the DREAM Act, President Obama referred to this group as DREAMERS.

Under DACA, any person who was under 31 years old could apply to receive certain protections and rights that are normally denied to illegal immigrants.  Applicants must prove that they entered the United Stated before their 16th birthday, and they had lived in the United States continuously since June 15, 2007. Additionally, applicants must have a clean criminal history and provide proof that they enrolled in high school or college, or served in the military.  Applicants must renew their DREAMER status every two years.

DREAMERS cannot be deported, so long as their status is current, can apply for jobs in the United States, and receive drivers licenses.

DACA has been a highly controversial program since its inception.  Essentially, President Trump’s position is that President Obama’s policy is not legal, and he wants Congress to pass legislation addressing the DREAMERS.

Illinois and several other states filed a lawsuit in the federal courts of New York, seeking to block President Trump from ending DACA.  Illinois is home to 42,000 of the 800,000 DACA recipients.

How Does DACA Affect My Business

Simply put, if Congress does not pass a new law, then 800,000 people in American will be unemployable – eventually.

If your business employees a DACA recipient, they will not become an illegal immigrant when President Trump ends the program.  According to the Department of Homeland Security, they will phase DACA out over the course of six months. If a DREAMER’s work permits expires before March 5, 2018, they can still apply for a two year renewal. Importantly, currently employed DREAMERS must follow strict deadlines to submit their paperwork.

Basically, if you employ a DREAMER, you won’t need to find a new employee immediately.  Your employee must submit the appropriate paperwork in a timely fashion.  If they do so, their employment should be fine for at least a few more years.  However, you and the employee must spend this time wisely.  Employers should explore alternative employment routes for immigrants, like various work visas.  Employees should explore visa opportunities as well, but they can also apply for residency under other programs or take the exam for U.S. Citizenship.

Deporting 800,000 DREAMERs also posses rippling effects throughout the economy.  Many of the nation’s business titans oppose Trump on DACA.  Business leaders such as Warren Buffett, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates all oppose eliminating DACA.  In fact, 350 business leaders submitted a data fueled letter supporting DACA, stating that the national economy could lose $460 billion of Gross Domestic Product and nearly $24 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.

If you have more questions about how DACA affects your business, contact the business lawyers at the BiState Law Center.  Our team of professionals will help you craft policies and procedures to efficiently handle any issue, including succession planning and hiring practices.  Give us a call at (888) 519-2215.