Immigration Law

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Does the latest DACA court ruling affect work authorizations?

Some people who came to the U.S. when they were children with parents who didn’t immigrate legally were granted the right to remain in the country to work and/or go to school thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA was implemented by President Obama back in 2012 after the U.S. Congress failed to pass legislation to help these young immigrants – many of whom have only known the U.S. as their home.

However, because DACA was never codified into law, “DREAMers” have been at the mercy of decisions made by the executive and judicial branches of the federal government in the ensuing decade. They were dealt another blow this month when a federal court ruled that DACA is unlawful.

The court ruled that current DACA recipients can retain their status and apply for renewal. The ruling stated that it doesn’t “require DHS [Department of Homeland Security] or the Department of Justice to take any immigration, deportation, or criminal action against any DACA recipient, applicant, or any other individual that it would not otherwise take.”

The DOJ issued reminders to employers in light of the court ruling

While this latest ruling could add to confusion among DACA recipients and their employers, The DOJ clarified that those with current Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) can continue to work here legally and renew their EAD when it expires. Further, the DOJ noted that employers “are not required or encouraged to ask their employees or job applicants about their immigration status or whether they have DACA.” The DOJ also detailed reminders for employers, including the following:

New hires can only be required to confirm that they’re authorized to work in the U.S. – not their immigration status. Employers can’t reject documentation because it has an expiration date in the future. Employers “that treat employees differently in verifying work authorization based on these or other protected characteristics might violate federal law.”

This court decision also cannot be used by employers to ask employees for any kind of immigration status information or to reverify their authorization to work. This, too, could be a violation of federal law.

If you or a loved one is facing workplace discrimination based on their DACA or another immigration status, it’s essential that you know your legal rights. Experienced legal guidance can be helpful.

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