Economic News

What the End of DACA Will Mean for Small Business Owners

Small Business Owners DACA (Shutterstock)

Business Owners are Concerned About the Fate of Their Employees

As the Trump administration works to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) many business owners worry about the fate of some of their employees who gained the legal right to work under the program. Their concerns are understandable, according to Sara Itucas, a client solution specialist with staffing and human resources firm TriNet.

Ending DACA, which was created as an executive order by President Barack Obama in 2012, could affect almost 700,000 Dreamers who have found protection from deportation under the program. The Trump administration rescinded DACA in September, but gave Congress a six-month window to enact an alternative before those in the program lose their ability to work and go to school.

“Most [employers] want to find out how to keep them,” said Itucas, who specializes in immigration. “From an employer’s standpoint, they are qualified workers and valuable members of the team.”

The End of DACA

The DACA program officially ends after March 5, 2018, unless Congress comes up with an alternative. Work permits will be honored until their expiration date if no alternative is put into place. If a Dreamer’s status expires, they will be in the U.S. without a valid work permit, and will not be able to find legal employment in America.

The Department of Homeland Security stopped accepting DACA applications on September 5th.  Anyone who hasn’t applied for the program won’t be accepted. It’s also too late to renew, according to Itucas. DACA permits are valid for two years. In the past, permits could be renewed for another two-year period. As of now, October 5th was the final day to apply for a renewal.

Itucas warns employers about sending DACA employees out of the states. “Generally, if they have a valid DACA permit and advance parole document, they should be able to leave the U.S. and reenter,” she said. However, it’s up to U.S. Custom and Border Protection to allow reentry to non-citizens with advance parole documents. “Generally, we are cautioning against travel because of this unpredictability,” says Itucas. “If your employee has not already been granted advance parole, they should not be traveling abroad,” she said.

What Employers Can Do

Employers who employ Dreamers should speak with an immigration attorney advises Itucas. Immigration attorneys can outline viable visa options for DACA employees, and raise any red flags that may affect their status in America. Immigration attorneys can also advise employers on how to be compliant with the law. “Employers need to know that any employee whose employment authorization expires has to stop working,” said Itucas.

Many in the business community are opposed to the move to end DACA, especially technology firms. More than 300 business leaders – including the chief executives at Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and – signed a letter asking Trump not to rescind the program. “Denying work authorization to people who grew up and were educated in the United States would have significant negative impact on employers,” said Mike Aitken of the Society for Human Resource Management.