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Employment law protects DACA Dreamers with work permits

The announcement from the Trump administration ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals does not enable employers to fire their employees with valid work permits under the program. The Center for American Progress estimates that about 700,000 people hold jobs under the program that protected them from deportation. A ruling in 2015 from a federal judge in the Southern District of New York determined that employers could not discriminate against "all lawfully present aliens." The people who gained work permits through DACA, known as Dreamers, meet this definition.

Although the revocation of DACA imposes the threat of fines and jail time on employers who knowingly give jobs to Dreamers once their work permits expire, employment law attorneys caution employers against terminating people's positions while their work permits remain valid. One immigration attorney said that firing someone before the work permit expires could represent unlawful discrimination.

Another immigration attorney said that employers should not ask potential hires if they are Dreamers. Many types of foreign nationals receive similar work permits. The law only requires that people provide the correct credentials to complete an I-9 form for employment. Questions regarding someone's immigration status could represent illegal discrimination like wanting information about a person's race or pregnancy status.

Employment discrimination can emerge for many reasons. A person who suspects that prejudice prevented a job offer, resulted in job termination or prompted unfair treatment at work could investigate rights with an attorney. If evidence indicates that the employer acted illegally, an attorney could prepare court filings to sue the employer for damages, such as lost pay and damage to career.

Source: Fortune, "Do DACA 'Dreamers' Work For Your Company? Here's What You'll Need to Know", Annalyn Kurtz, Sept. 7, 2017

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