Immigration Uncertainty Can Spell Trouble For Cleaning Industry
The cleaning industry could soon have a major employment issue on its hands. That’s because the uncertainty surrounding the future status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and looming termination for the temporary protected status of hundreds of thousands of people from Haiti and El Salvador, could very well strip the industry of thousands of workers who help these businesses function.
Spearhead by then-President Barack Obama in 2012, of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, temporarily prevents the deportation of an unauthorized immigrant brought to the United States as a child, provided they were, among other things, under the age of 16 when they entered, were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, and had not been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor, according to the U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services. The temporary status provided by DACA is currently renewable and lasts two years per accepted application. The recipients of this status, known as Dreamers, are not only permitted to stay in America, but can also apply for the authorization to legally work in the country.
The concern of Dreamers and those who benefit from their employment was elevated on September 5, 2017, when the Trump administration announced plans to phase out DACA. The administration applied a March 5, 2018, deadline for DACA to officially end, which was supposed to give congress the opportunity to come to a resolution involving the program before its demise. The government was to stop renewing DACA applicants after October 5, 2017, however federal courts ordered the U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services on January 13 to continue taking requests to renew a grant of deferred action — though it won’t take new requests from those who haven’t applied. The DACA program is, and will continue to, operate on the terms put in place prior to the September announcement unless the U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services is instructed to do otherwise, according to its website. As of now, the situation remains fluid, as the deadline can be pushed back.
As of last September, approximately 800,000 unauthorized immigrants have been granted protection from deportation and work permits through DACA at one point since its inception, according to the Pew Research Center. Of those unauthorized immigrants, 690,000 were still using DACA. Pew also found nearly 80 percent of those enrolled in DACA, at the time, were from Mexico, and 89 percent were age 30 or younger. A large portion (45 percent) of active participants were living in either California or Texas.
Dreamers have the potential to be employed in just about any field, according to the Migration Policy Institute, which last August, broke down data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine DACA eligible workers aged 16 to 32 by their occupational group in 2014.
Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations employed 32,000 workers — this field had the seventh highest total of DACA eligible workers of the 19 occupational groups the institute counted.
Although it hasn’t been as widely discussed as DACA of late, the impending termination of the temporary protected status from individuals from El Salvador and Haiti in 2019 will cause hundreds of thousands to return to those countries, leaving employment issues for building service contractors.
A temporary protected status, or TPS, is a designation the Secretary of Homeland Security can apply to a foreign country so that the nationals from those countries already living in the U.S. aren’t forced to return to that nation until their leave is safer or that nation is able to accommodate their presence, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. Like with DACA, TPS allows its eligible beneficiaries to obtain documentation allowing them to legally work in the U.S.
The Secretary of Homeland Security has determined El Salvador has recovered from the earthquakes that terrorized the country in 2001 to the point the TPS designation should be terminated in September 2019. Similarly, the secretary has determined Haiti has recovered enough from the January 12, 2010 earthquake that its TPS designation be terminated in July 2019. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that more than 262,500 hold TPS under El Salvador’s designation and 58,000 under Haiti’s designation, according to the U.S. Federal Register. The people included in these figures include aliens with no defined nationality that last regularly resided in one of those two nations.
Jake Meister is the Associate Editor of Contracting Profits and Sanitary Maintenance magazines.
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