Supporting DACA Recipient Employees and Team Members
11 concrete ways employers can support their DACA recipient employees, interns and contractors in a time of uncertainty
1. Pay for employee’s and/or contractor’s DACA renewal fees. If an employee’s family member has DACA, pay for their fee as well. A DACA renewal application is $495, not including preparation costs (legal consultation, postage and other materials). These costs can be prohibitive, and it is within an employer’s rights and interest to provide this service. If an EAD expiration date is nearing and your employee has not yet received their renewal, contact your U.S. Senator or Representative and request that they work with USCIS to expedite the application.
2. Provide immigration legal assistance/counsel to DACAmented employees, contractors, and immediate family members of employees (potentially via outside counsel to waive or avoid any conflicts). Set up regular 1:1s for the employee and outside counsel to check in on needs. Cover legal defense fees for above-mentioned individuals should they become necessary – including for former employees who are detained or encounter other legal troubles arising from losing protection from deportation upon their DACA expiration.
3. Commit company or contracted lawyer’s hours to provide in-kind, pro-bono legal assistance at local immigrant-serving organizations. You can find a list of organizations at InformedImmigrant.com/organizations.
4. Arrange offboarding programs for employees unable to renew their DACA and forced to leave the workplace. Consider healthy severance packages or other lawful assistance at the time their employment permission ceases. Pay out accrued sick leave and vacation leave balances.
5. Affirm that employees forced to leave work temporarily due to DACA expiry won’t be punished or disadvantaged from a professional development standpoint upon return should they regain work authorization. If possible, make the position they vacate available to them upon return should they regain work authorization. Reassure them that any pending promotion or other opportunity will be still be available to them.
6. Over-communicate the availability of mental health resources for immigration-impacted staff. Make a list of in-network mental health service providers for easy access – and if superior options are only offered out of network, cover the difference.
7. Host a regular call with senior management, HR, and directly affected individuals to ensure that the company is being attentive to employee’s needs.
8. Host Know Your Rights trainings during work hours for all staff that cover an individual’s rights when interacting with law or immigration enforcement at home, in public spaces, and in the workplace. Establish, communicate, and implement company protocol to protect employee rights should immigration enforcement visit the work site or request employee information from managers. Employers can take these steps while simultaneously ensuring they observe their own legal obligations.
9. Be sensitive to people’s differing levels of comfort with being public about their immigration status. Never “out” somebody to coworkers or speak about somebody’s immigration status with others if that individual has not made explicitly clear that they are comfortable with this information being shared. Make all trainings and resources on immigration and rights widely known and available to all staff, and clearly designate an HR Point of Contact for anyone looking for additional resources or assistance (including legal assistance) to access confidentially.
10. Recommit to Dreamers by releasing a statement of support for all employees, regardless of citizenship status. Reaffirm commitment to growing the company’s talent and diversity and protecting DACAmented staff while federal policy is debated and changed. Distribute message through company’s social media, written editorials, videos, or other outlets.
11. Prioritize/add Dreamer legislation as a priority within company’s own congressional goals. Further efforts by funding trips for DACA-recipient employees to Washington, D.C. and meet with Members of Congress.
Have more questions? Contact us at (323) 456-7600 to schedule your free in-office consultation with our experienced immigration attorney!
Source: AILA Doc. No. 18050935.