In June 2012, President Barack Obama's administration announced a form of temporary relief from deportation for some (not all) of the many young people brought unlawfully to the United States as children. The program is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Texas general counsel can expect to see DACA beneficiaries applying for jobs soon; some already have. What follows is a brief summary of the DACA program's requirements, the government's guidance to employers in relation to DACA beneficiaries and some key issues relating to I-9 compliance for people in this group.
Deferred action occurs when the government exercises its prosecutorial discretion to defer removing an individual. Historically, such discretionary reprieves were quite rare. However, on June 15, 2012, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and who meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years.
Approved DACA applicants are eligible for Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), renewable every two years. To qualify for DACA benefits, applicants must prove they:
were under age 31 as of June 15, 2012;
came to the United States before their sixteenth birthday;
have continuously resided in the United States from June 15, 2007, to the present;
were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, as well as at the time of making their DACA request;
entered the United States without inspection before June 15, 2012, or their lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a GED certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces; and