It is expected Trump will end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program this week, leaving nearly 800,000 people in limbo about their employment and legal status and their futures. If you or someone you know faces this uncertainty, it is important to be informed about your rights and where to go from here.
Work Permits and Authorization:
- Employment authorization cards (EADs), known as Work Permits, are valid until they expire, or the Government demands they be returned. If Trump’s ending of DACA also demands the return of work permits, then your authorization to work in the US will end the day your card is revoked and requested for return. If the Government does not demand the return of your work permit (which I anticipate will be the case for most), then you have the right to work legally until the expiration date of your permit.
- You have no obligation to inform your employer has ended. Your employer does not have the right to ask you whether your work authorization is based on DACA or how you get it.
- Your employer has no right to fire you, put you on leave, or change your work status until after your work permit has expired.
- If your expiration date is coming up, your employer may ask you for an updated work permit, but they cannot take any action against you until after it has expired.
Social Security Numbers: Your social security number is a valid social security number for life, even if your work permit expires or DACA approval expires. You can and should continue to use your social security number you got under DACA as your social security number even after your work permit expires. You can use your social for your education, housing and other purposes. However, you can only use your social security number for employment purposes only if you have a valid work permit.
Driver’s licenses: Your eligibility for a driver’s licenses depends on the state you live. In California, if you have DACA a regular driver’s license can be obtained and will continue to be valid until the expiration of your driver’s license. If you didn’t already obtain a license in California with your DACA, in California you can apply for an AB60 license.
Travel Outside the United States: If you have not been granted advance parole to leave the country, do not leave the United States. If you are outside the US with advance parole as a DACA recipient, return to the United States immediately while your advance parole and work permit are valid. If DACA ends, it is uncertain whether the advance parole permits to return to the US will be honored and you cannot risk being denied entry.
Other Immigration Options: DACA recipients may be eligible for other immigration options so it is important to speak with a qualified, competent immigration lawyer (not notario!). Be sure to speak with an immigration lawyer about your personal circumstances, and be sure to ask your family members about any past visa petitions that family members or past employers may have filed for your parents. Often people learn that an employer or Aunt or Grandparent filed a petition for their parent many years ago. Sometimes, we can use these petitions to help DACA recipients get green cards, but there are many many factors involved in the analysis to see if it is even possible. It is best to seek the help of a quality immigration lawyer to determine what, if anything, can be done.
In the meantime, DACA recipients should continue to work with their valid work permits, and continue their education. We at North County Immigration continue to stay up on the latest information and will continue to advocate for a Congressional fix so that DREAMERs are allowed to permanently pursue their American dreams. Stay tuned for further updates at www.northcountyimmigration.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @sdimmigration.