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Make contingency plans for DACA workers


Undocumented “dreamers” allowed to work legally in the United States through the Delayed Action on Childhood Arrivals program—or DACA—won a temporary reprieve Feb. 26 when the U.S. Supreme Court turned down the government’s petition to begin rescinding work permits on March 5.

However, litigation continues to cloud the future of dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as children but lack permanent resident status or citizenship.

If you have employees with DACA work permits, you should make contingency plans in case a court rules that the Trump administration can proceed with plans to revoke DACA work permits.

By rejecting the Department of Homeland Security’s petition, the Supreme Court let stand two lower-court temporary injunctions that essentially froze DACA in place. DACA work permit holders whose work authorization documents are expiring can continue to apply to renew their permits. DHS must continue to issue permits under the rules set by the Obama administration.

Even so, employers should continue to carefully review DACA work permits and make sure affected employees take steps to renew their permits on time. Employing anyone with an expired permit can expose an employer to civil and criminal liability.

Here’s what HR should do:

1. Review all DACA work permits for current validity, making note of expiration dates.

2. Remind each worker of his or her DACA permit expiration date. Workers should file renewal applications at least 120 days before their authorization to work expires. Explain that you will have no choice but to discharge anyone who lets their permit expire.

3. Consider helping employees pay the $495 work permit application fee.

4. Have each employee provide a copy of their renewal application.

Advice: Contact an experienced immigration attorney for help with specific employees’ cases.

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