What DACA Recipients & Employers Need to Know About The End of DACA

President Trump has announced his plans to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides “temporary relief from deportation” and work authorization for certain undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. when they were minors. There are over 800,000 DACA beneficiaries across the country, the majority of whom are legally employed by U.S. employers.

As of September 6, 2017, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will no longer be accepting new DACA applications, however, current DACA recipients will be permitted to retain both the period of deferred action and their employment authorization until they expire. Individuals who currently have an initial DACA request pending with USCIS will have their cases adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. Those individuals with their deferred action expiring before March 5, 2018 must apply to renew their DACA (for a two-year period) before October 5, 2017. After March 6, 2018 no more DACA renewal applications will be accepted by USCIS.


Through the DACA program, beneficiaries receive Employment Authorization Documents (also known as “work permits” or “EAD” cards) which provide lawful work authorization with U.S. employers. These cards are issued for limited periods of time and have expiration dates. Despite this new policy which will terminate the ability to renew EAD cards, current valid EAD cards will continue to provide lawful work authorization for those beneficiaries, until the EAD expires. This means DACA beneficiaries are allowed to legally continue working for U.S. employers with their EAD card until the expiration date on the card. While employers may not be aware of their employees who are on DACA until it comes time to reverify an employee’s work authorization in the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification process, employers are not legally obligated to terminate an employee until after their EAD card has expired. 


Social security numbers for DACA recipients will remain valid and can continue to be used for banking, education, housing, and other reasons. Driver’s licenses should also remain valid until the expiration date of the card (but double check with your State’s motor vehicle department to confirm). While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has indicated they will still honor valid Advance Parole documents, which provide immigration officers with discretionary authority to permit an individual to return to the U.S. after foreign travel, DACA beneficiaries are advised not to travel internationally, due to the risk of being denied re-entry into the U.S. upon return.


Information which DACA recipients provided to DHS in their DACA applications will not be proactively provided to Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), or shared with other law enforcement entities for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings, unless an individual poses a risk to national security or public safety. ICE has said that it has no plans to target DACA holders as their permits expire and that they will continue to remain low enforcement priorities. 


DACA recipients may be eligible for other immigration relief either through family or employment. Employers with overseas offices may be able to employ affected individuals abroad. DACA recipients may be able to obtain work authorization and/or lawful residence in another country and may even be able to do so from within in the United States. 

Individuals and employers should contact qualified legal counsel to understand their options. As always, we will continue to monitor this recent DACA update and continue to provide additional analysis as information continues to become available. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

The Benefits of Obama’s Executive Order for Employment-Based Workers & Entrepreneurs

Amongst the details of President Obama’s executive order to improve the U.S. immigration system, we expect to see improvements affecting employment-based immigrants and entrepreneurs.  These improvements may include:

  1. The ability for employment-based immigrants to apply for adjustment of status (“green cards”) before an immigrant visa number is available for them under the annual immigrant visa quota;
  2. Increases in the employment authorization periods for STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) graduates;
  3. Improvements to the PERM labor certification program for possibly “premium processing” and more modern recruitment methods and media;
  4. Employment authorization for H-4 spouses of H-1B holders;
  5. Guidance on L-1B specialized knowledge professionals;
  6. Guidance on the National Interest Waiver (NIW) program by entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators;
  7. Parole opportunities and work authorization for entrepreneurs and inventors

Obama’s Immigration Order Will Benefit Millions of Undocumented Workers & Families

President Obama has announced a new “deferred action” program for undocumented aliens who have been living in the U.S. for at least five years, have at least on U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident child, register with the U.S. government, pass a series of background checks and pay their taxes.  This executive order will likely provide work authorization for as many as five million undocumented aliens.

The details of this executive order will be released in the coming weeks and may include processes to speed up the permanent residency process for highly-skilled foreign workers and entrepreneurs, as well as work authorization for spouses of certain H-1B visa holders.