For several years, some members of Congress have been trying to pass legislation that would allow the adult children of illegal immigrants to become legal to stay in the US. Last year, President Obama issued an executive order that allowed those adult illegal immigrants who came here as minors to stay by creating a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals aka DACA. While the program has had opposition and been the subject of court action, USCIS has been issuing Employment Authorization Documents (EAD’s)to the DACA participants. Many of those EAD’s were issued with three year expiration dates. This three year authorization was prohibited by Court Order. The court has said that USCIS could only issue these EAD’s for maximum of 2 years.
Well… that leaves many in a bind. It is unknown how many three-year EAD’s were issued but in May, USCIS has sent letters to all of them requiring them to return the three-year EAD’s for 2 year EAD’s in exchange. In July a large number had still not made the exchange and an additional letter went out to the DACA participants. In the mean time, the federal district court has threatened sanctions on USCIS and it’s director if this is not corrected soon.
At this point it is our understanding that if you have Deferred Action participants go to their I-9 form and see if they have a three-year EAD and if they do, see if they have had it replaced with a two year EAD. If not.. you will want to get them to do that and update your I-9 (although USCIS hasn’t said the right way to do that yet).
One other issue that will need clarification is what to do if an employee with a three year EAD refuses to get a new one. We know the three year ones have been rescinded but you have seen a valid document and filled out an I-9 properly. It is yet unclear how the employer is to take action.
At this point I don’t know of any DACA participants employed in gins but it would not surprise me if there are plenty. We will be talking about this issue as well as more immigration issues as we get closer and closer to the elections next year.