Implemented in 2012 during the Obama administration, DACA provided temporary relief from deportation and temporary work authorization to those children brought to the United States before they were 16 years old and who resided in the United States for at least five years before June 15, 2012. Applicants also needed to be under the age of 31, be enrolled in school or have already graduated, and have no criminal record.
Receiving “deferred action” did not provide lawful status, but it was a form of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal (deportation) action against an individual for a certain period of time. This, therefore, allowed applicants to remain in the country without fear of deportation and with the ability to enroll in school, seek employment and serve in the military. Status was granted in two-year increments. Currently, there are approximately 800,000 DACA recipients in the country. Here’s what we know at this point:
Extensions for expiring Employment Authorization Documents (“EAD cards”) must be filed by October 5, 2017;
Only those DACA recipients whose current EAD cards expire before March 5, 2018 may file to extend their status/EAD cards. Current beneficiaries of the program may continue to benefit from the deferment for six months, until March 5, 2018. Employment authorization will remain valid until the EAD card expires; and
Effective as of September 5, 2017, no new applications for relief under the program will be accepted.
Based upon comments from the Trump administration, the expectation is that Congress now has a window of opportunity to create legislation covering DACA recipients. This announcement serves as a reminder for employers to review their Forms I-9 and ensure that they are properly tracking all employees’ expiring employment authorization documents. Employers may want to post a general notice that DACA recipients should file their extension applications before October 5, 2017.