On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it is rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA grants eligible individuals employment authorization and promises a grant of relief from deportation for two years; it does not grant any legal status or a path to citizenship. DACA was created by the Obama administration in 2012 to provide a status for individuals who were brought here as children and attend school or join the military, and who have no convictions for serious crimes. There are currently approximately 800,000 people in this status.
Here’s what we know at this point:
- Effective immediately, no new applications for relief under the program will be processed;
- Current beneficiaries of the program may file for extensions of the deferment and employment authorization for six months, until March 5, 2018; and
- Extensions for expiring employment authorization documents must be filed by October 5, 2017.
Based upon comments from members of the Trump administration, the expectation is that Congress now has a window of opportunity to create legislation covering so-called “Dreamers” covered by DACA.
This announcement is another indication that employer compliance with immigration law has never been more important. In particular, it serves as a reminder for employers to both review their Forms I-9 and ensure that they are properly tracking their employees’ expiring employment authorization documents.