President Trump recently announced that the DACA program, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan, will be phased out between October 2017 and March 2018, and once again, human resources professionals are on the front lines. The White House has produced controversial rulings in the past, including the recent travel ban, which have resulted in a great deal of anxiety and confusion for workers and their employers. According to President Trump, DACA will no longer be in effect as of March 5, 2018, unless Congress is able to pass legislation on immigration reform.
What is DACA?
Employment and government experts indicate that an estimated 800,000 people can work in the U.S. under DACA’s provisions. DACA was created by President Obama as means of assistance for young adults who came to the U.S. as children and who have grown up in the country without actually being legally documented. In order for organizations and companies to remain compliant, human resources professionals who have the responsibility to submit both E-Verify and I-9 compliance documentation along with workforce planning and employee engagement documents must consider three dates:
– September 5, 2017, which was the last date that the USCIS would process DACA applications
– October 5, 2017, which is the last date by which DACA recipients can file a renewal application if their expiration date is set between September 5th, 2017 and March 5, 2018
– March 5, 2018, which is when DACA will end unless Congress can pass legislation to extend effectiveness dates or preserve the program.
HR professionals should ensure that the leaders of the organization are also aware of these important dates.
What HR Professionals Need to Know
Many companies across the U.S. are worried about the morale of their workers who may be affected, the potential disruption to the workforce, and the cost of the White House’s latest decision. However, HR professionals can help these organizations in several ways. First, HR professionals should be aware that managers and their workers may contact their human resources department for advice regarding DACA. HR professionals are not advised to reject or terminate potential applicants based on the current DACA situation as the outcome is not yet known for sure.
HR professionals must also determine how much support the company can provide to affected individuals and their loved ones. The human resource department should also make sure their workers are aware of the October 5th cutoff date to ensure they apply for extensions if eligible. HR professionals may consider providing emotional support by implementing an assistance program that offers legal help or emotional support or by holding support discussions themselves.
Finally, HR professionals may consider encouraging organization leaders to participate by publically speaking up in response to DACA. In addition, some managers may not fully understand the effect DACA will have on their companies and teams, so HR professionals should help to educate management on both the legal obligations as well as the best courses of action for the company and its affected workers.
HR professionals can help a great deal by keeping up-to-date on the situation and the latest DACA updates. Government policies can take more time than anticipated, or they can change quickly and unexpectedly, but hopefully, for the DACA program, elected officials will come to a resolution sooner rather than later.