In September, President Trump rescinded the controversial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that former President Obama put in place in 2012. DACA extended deportation protections to about 700,000 children of illegal immigrants. When Trump rescinded DACA, he gave Congress six months to enact an alternative before those protected under the program lose their ability to work, study and live in the U.S.
If any of your employees have DACA status, you should be aware of how the change affects their employment. CNN Money spoke to Sara Itucas, a client solution specialist with San Leandro, Calif.-based TriNet Group Inc., a human resources services firm. Following are some tips she provided.
Unless Congress acts, the DACA program effectively ends March 5, 2018. If no alternative is put in its place, an individual's work permit will be honored until it expires. However, once a DACA recipient's existing status expires, he or she will be without a valid work permit and will not be able to be employed legally in the U.S.
If an employee has not yet applied for a DACA permit, it is too late to do so (the Department of Homeland Security stopped accepting new DACA applications Sept. 5). It also is too late to renew a DACA permit or work authorization status. Before DACA was rescinded, DACA permits were valid for two years and renewable for an additional two years. But after the Trump administration's action, Oct. 5 was the last day a permit could be renewed.
If you perform work outside the U.S., think twice about sending a DACA employee outside the country. Itucas says in addition to a two-year reprieve from deportation, people with DACA status received renewable work permits, Social Security cards, driver's licenses and the ability to travel abroad. But to re-enter the U.S., they were required to get special travel permission called advance parole. She says it's up to the discretion of U.S. Custom and Border Protection agents to allow re-entry to noncitizens with advance parole documents and advises against taking the risk.
Note the U.S. government no longer is granting DACA recipients permission to travel abroad through advance parole. And any pending applications are not being processed.
To assist DACA employees, Itucas suggests you connect them with an immigration attorney who will be able to outline viable visa options for DACA employees, as well as raise any issues that may affect their statuses. In addition, an immigrant attorney can help you comply with the law.
"Employers need to know any employee whose employment authorization expires has to stop working," Itucas warns.
Ambika Puniani Reid is editor of Professional Roofing and NRCA's vice president of communications and production.