Immigration Reform Employers Need To Know
Although the Supreme Court did not uphold President Obama’s Executive Actions, DACA+ and DAPA, the original DACA is still in effect and there are state reforms that are taking place. It is important for employers to be aware of the original DACA and the movement happening at the state level.
Under the Obama administration, DACA has already been in place. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting DACA applications on August 15, 2012, and gave individuals who were approved a renewable, two-year work permit, and exemption from deportation.
The individuals that are DACA eligible must have:
• Come to the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday
• Lived in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007
• Be under the age of 31 on June 15, 2007
• Be physically in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time they made the request for DACA status
• Completed a high school degree, served in the armed forces or be in school
• Have never been convicted of a felony
Since its inception, DACA has been granted to about 800,000 individuals.
In addition to DACA, which is nationwide, states are also implementing state reforms. California, for example, has taken a big step towards immigration reform. They have a new driver’s license, AB-60, which undocumented immigrants are eligible to receive. This gives them the ability to legally drive.
It is estimated that approximately 1.5 million individuals will apply for the AB-60 driver’s license. In an even bigger step, the AB-60 license counts as a valid list B item for a Form I-9 and employers can be liable for discrimination if they do not accept it.
Jacob Monty is the Managing Partner at Monty & Ramirez LLP in Houston, Texas.