Small Business Owners and the Status of DACA Employees

small business owners and DACA

What small business owners need to know about DACA beneficiaries employees.



For small business owners who may currently be employing beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (commonly known as “DACA”), there is doubtless some confusion over whether the program has ended, and, if not, what its present state is.

A. Some History

The DACA program was announced on June 15, 2012 by the then Director of Homeland Security under the Obama Administration with the goal to achieve a more nuanced approach to immigration so that children of undocumented aliens would be able to become educated and work in the U.S. without fear of being deported.

The DACA program provided that applicants would need to meet several criteria, including that they:

1.   Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012

2.  Entered the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday

3.  Had been residing in the U.S. since June 5, 2007 and were currently present in the U.S.

4.  Were in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and would be physically in the U.S. at the time they requested deferred action

5.  Entered the U.S. without border inspection before June 15, 2012 or their immigration status expired prior to June 15, 2012

6.  Were currently in school, had graduated, or acquired a certificate of high school equivalency, including a GED certificate,

7.  Had been honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces.

The vetting process required applicants to make substantive financial, medical and educational disclosure and to provide to the U.S. Government a range of personal and biometric data. Applicants also underwent an application process, which involved paying government filing fees and costs.

An applicant’s participation in the DACA program could be revoked but only for acts involving criminality, fraud and misrepresentation, or acts that raised national security and/or public safety concerns.

To revoke a DACA recipient’s status required that the immigration authorities serve on the recipient a Notice of Intent to Terminate, which was to include a detailed explanation concerning the bases for revocation and afford the recipient an opportunity to respond. The U.S. Government also promised DACA recipients that their personal information would not later be used in an effort to deport them.

In 2014, the Obama Administration announced an expansion of the DACA program, among other things, to include the parents of DACA recipients.

This order was successfully challenged by the Attorneys General of several states on the basis that the order was in violation of rule-making procedures and was inconsistent with the legal framework that supported deferred action programs. The lower court’s stay of the Administration’s executive order was affirmed by the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

B. The Program’s Success

By all accounts, the DACA program has benefitted its beneficiaries.

According to a survey quoted in a recent complaint filed in court by the NAACP against the current administration: DACA recipients were able, on average, to increase their wages by almost 80%; 65% had purchased their first car; 16% became homeowners; and 5% had started new businesses.   

Next page- The Effort to End the Program and Anticiapted Lawsuits


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