The Labor & Employment Blog is a forum for practitioners and Bloomberg BNA editors to share ideas, raise issues, and network with colleagues.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
by Laura D. Francis
A month after the official launch of the Obama
administration’s deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program, employers
have been wondering what might happen to them if they give their employees
documentation verifying their employment. Will they be audited by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for
employing undocumented workers? After
all, providing this information to a DACA applicant is a signal that an
employer now knows that it is employing someone not authorized to work in the
United States—a violation of federal law.
But U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Sept. 14 may
have allowed employers to breathe a sigh of relief. In an update to the agency’s frequently asked questions on DACA, USCIS said: “You may, as you determine appropriate, provide
individuals requesting deferred action for childhood arrivals with
documentation which verifies their employment. This information will not
be shared with ICE for civil immigration enforcement purposes pursuant to [Immigration
and Nationality Act] section 274A unless there is evidence of egregious
violations of criminal statutes or widespread abuses.”
The statement is similar to assurances USCIS has been giving
to DACA applicants that their information will not be shared with ICE for
enforcement purposes, signaling that employers don’t need to fear prosecution if
they reveal that they’ve been employing illegal immigrants—unless they’ve been seriously
mistreating their workers.
Experts believe that employment documents are the most
reliable way for DACA applicants to prove some of the eligibility criteria, and
so removing a barrier to employers providing this information may result in a
significant boost in the number of applications in the coming months.
At the same time, it does not look like employer hesitation
is having a huge impact on the program. The same day USCIS updated its FAQs, it
also released the first round of data on the program, showing that 82,361
individuals applied for DACA between Aug. 15 and Sept. 13. USCIS already has completed 29 of those
applications, although the agency won’t say whether they were approved or
In Other News:
to post a comment.
Labor Stats and Facts: Seven Surprising Facts About Health Care Bargaining
EEO Roundup: EEOC Nomination, House Testimony
Public Sector Roundup: OPM Issues `Phased Retirement' Proposal to Allow Part-Time Work for Future Federal Retirees
Public Sector Roundup: Legislation to Require OPM to Track Union 'Official Time' Approved by House Panel
Labor Stats and Facts: Union Workers' Benefits Don't Outpace Nonunion Benefits; They Lap Them