The Trump administration’s intention to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created uncertainty among DACA’s beneficiaries. It also left Colorado employers wondering how they might contend with thousands of individuals suddenly leaving the state’s workforce.
Under the Obama administration’s DACA program, certain undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children were made a low priority for deportation and could maintain authorization to work in the U.S. if they met certain requirements. The program covers nearly 800,000 beneficiaries.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Sept. 5 it would wind down DACA, shuttering the program March 5, 2018. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would stop accepting new DACA requests in the meantime. The Trump administration has left a window in which Congress could legislate a replacement policy, but like DACA recipients, employers are left with few options for responding.
Angelica Ochoa, partner and employment-based immigration lawyer at Fisher Phillips in Denver, said the DACA wind-down has employers “worried they’re going to lose some of their employees.” They stand the risk of losing workers in key positions in whom they invested time and resources to train and retain, and losing those team members could “pretty devastating” for certain employers, she added.