Guide for Employers Hiring DACA Recipients

Written by Carmen Cornejo

Let’s be honest. We know many employers around the country were confused or concerned regarding hiring young immigrants who applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) after President Obama issued his executive action in June 2012.

DACA allows young undocumented immigrants who meet certain guidelines and receive approval by USCIS to remain in the U.S. and get a card called an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This card demonstrates eligibility to work in the U.S.

Many DACA grantees are capable, American-educated individuals and are applying for jobs with their newly minted EAD. Some of the companies they apply with have little to no experience with Deferred Action recipients.

A high tech company’s HR department, which was being solicited for a position by a DACA young professional, even asked her if they would be required to file for an H1B visa at the expiration of her work permit.

That tells you they did not have a clue about how employment for DACA recipients works.

USCIS has issued guidelines for employers who want to enrich their workforce with the talent of DACA-DREAMers. Click here for the link.

The guidelines tell employers they must fill out and retain a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for each individual they hire – both citizens and non-citizens.

The employer must comply with Form I-9 instructions, using the information the individual provides with his or her EAD.

To avoid the possibility of discrimination, the employer may not request additional information as proof the case has been deferred or ask more questions. The EAD card should be enough proof of his/her job eligibility.

It is the responsibility of the DACA recipient to renew their DACA on time and to have an updated EAD.

In Arizona, the law requires employers to use the “E-Verify” system (a free Web-based service offered by the Department of Homeland Security) to verify the employment authorization of all new employees hired after December 31, 2007.

Employers should run the information on new I-9 forms through E-Verify.

For additional information on Form I-9, follow this link or visit I-9 Central.