DACA Immigrants Could Help Solve Georgia’s Labor Shortage

Editor’s note: This sponsored article was written by a lawyer Charles Kuck as part of Kuck Baxter Immigrationannual advertising partnership with Atlanta World.

A new updated version of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is good news for Georgia employers who want to hire the approximately 10,000 immigrants who are eligible for the program but have not been allowed to apply – immigrants who could fill needed jobs in our state.

After reviewon more than 16,000 public comments, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a final rule in the Federal Register ohn August 30, 2022, which preserves and strengthens DACA.

We are waiting for the Fifth circuit United States Court of Appeals in Texas only to find that a lawsuit over the legality of the original 2012 DACA program is now moot, given the recently released regulations. Currently, the new August 2022 DACA regulations are ready to accept new applications from October 30th.

At the end of 2021, there was 19,700 DACA beneficiaries in Georgia. Under the new DHS rule, they will be able to continue to renew their work authorizations. More importantly, the new rule allows hundreds of thousands of new DACA applicants to file, including those who came of age after President Asset and the Texas court halted new filings in September 2017 and again in May 2021. At least 10,000 of those new plaintiffs live in Georgia.

The new regulations restore the original DACA program to do exactly what it has been doing for over 10 years – and nothing more: protect eligible “Dreamers” from deportation and grant them the option to let them work legally in the United States

The new regulations:

  • Allow current and eligible DACA recipients to renew their status
  • Resume processing 80,000-90,000 new pending DACA requests nationwide
  • Reopening the application process to an additional 100,000 to 200,000 applicants, including another 10,000 in Georgia, who will be able to file once the new regulations take effect on October 30, 2022
  • Allow current DACA recipients to travel internationally with prior authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

The travel provision is important because most Dreamers entered the United States without a visa, and now, if they are married or have a 21-year-old child, they will be able to travel internationally, gain legal entry to their return and then be eligible to apply for a green card [a legal permit to live and work permanently in the U.S.].

DACA recipients who obtained their DACA status before they turned 18.5 also remain eligible to be sponsored for a green card by their U.S. employer through a complicated process called “labor certification.”

The requirements for DACA recipients under the administration’s new regulations remain the same. DACA applicants must have entered the United States before age 16 and before June 15, 2007. The last eligible beneficiary of DACA would have reached the age to apply for DACA on June 14, 2022, when he turned 15 and entered at the age of one day. Thus, there are no more new DACA beneficiaries eligible under the new regulations; their number is finite.

DACArecipients must also have maintained a continuous physical presence in the United States since June 15, 2007. They must have or be working toward a GED or high school diploma or be enrolled in other continuing education, and also display a ” good character”.

This new regulation is essential for current and eligible Dreamers. The DACA program means the difference between being able to work and live legally in the United States – which is often the only home they have ever known – and being forced to return to their country of birth, a place most have no memory. It is a lifeline for these young men and women.

But what DACA means for the business world is almost as critical.

Dreamers as labor

Employers in Georgia and the United States already rely on DACA recipients as employees. More … than 600,000 Dreamers are currently protected by DACA. But an estimate 3.6 million Undocumented immigrants under the age of 18 – a third of the total undocumented population – are believed to reside in the United States

These immigrants constitute the future – and current – ​​workforce of America. Buthere is a finite universe of potential DACA recipients.

A third of DACA recipients in Georgia are now married and have children. They generally arrived in the United States over 20 years ago and are now in their late twenties. Nearly 100% are employed, 90% have graduated from high school and a third have completed college.

Extending DACA to eligible recipients to help address the labor shortage crisis in our state should be a no-brainer. But obstructive politicians got in the way.

Consider this timeline:

  • June 2012: The Obama Administration set up the DACA program.
  • September 2017: The Trump administration announces a termination of DACAstopping new requests and phasing out renewal requests.
  • In January 2018, USCIS resumed accepting DACA requests following a federal court order.
  • August 2018: A federal district court ruled that no first applications for DACA would be accepted, but existing beneficiaries could renew their DACA status.
  • June 2020: The Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration’s termination of DACA and sent the matter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for reconsideration, while keeping the program in place.
  • December 2020: A US District Court order the DHS to fully reinstate the DACA program.
  • July 2021: A federal judge in Texas ruled DACA illegal and blocked new applicants, but existing recipients can still renew.
  • July 2022: The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the Biden administration’s appeal of last July’s ruling, seeking the return of DACA’s legal status.
  • August 3, 2022: The first pending DACA applications and recipients whose DACA status expired more than a year ago have been denied assistance by a Eastern District of New Yorkdecision. But this decision does not change the status quo; Current DACA holders or those whose status expired less than a year ago can still apply for renewals.

And now?

What happens next will be decisive.

Jhere were 181,180 DACA beneficiaries whose status was due to expire by the end of March 2023 if they had not applied for renewal by August 2021. They can now renew under the new regulations.

Additionally, even if the Fifth Circuit declares the old DACA illegal (because it was created via a DHS memorandum and not through a formal agency rule-making process with public notice and comment), the new DACA regulations will still be viable, allowing New applications on October 30.

The reality is that only when we stop demonizing immigrants can we start using the immigration process to solve our labor problem.

This is all good news. A better scenario, however, would be that the Biden Administration would adjust the DACA entry date requirements with a simple regulatory solution. Nothing prevents the administration from bringing forward the dates of DACA eligibility so that waiting Dreamers can remain eligible. There is no need to approval of Congress to do this. The current administration simply suffers from a lack of imagination and leadership when it comes to immigration.

DACA is a way forward for many people. Until Congress does the right thing – and they will eventually – DACA is their lifeline to near-normal life in the United States.

Still, the best-case scenario would be to fix our broken immigration system. Congress has already considered a meaningful solution. The United States House of Representatives passed HB 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021, which would make 2.7 million Dreamers and 400,000 Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients eligible to apply for conditional legal status. Meaning. Lindsey Graham (R-Caroline from the south) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) introduced a Senate version of the bill, the 2021 dream actbut failed to gain the support of nine others Republican senators needed to pass the law.

If we only had 10 Republican senators with foresight and political courage, we would have green cards for DACA recipients. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen at a time when politicians are looking for a place to divert attention from their own shortcomings and failures.

The reality is that only when we stop demonizing immigrants can we start using the immigration process to solve our labor problem.

Immigration as a solution

Obviously, we have a labor shortage in this country, and it’s not just for picking grapes. We have a shortage of tech experts, manufacturing workers, pilots, and almost every profession. Where could we find more workers? Immigration is the obvious solution.

First, we could legalize the approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants already living in the United States, 96% of whom are employed.

We could also increase legal immigration. The number of immigrants for employment and investment allowed each year is set at 140,000, which includes their spouses and children. So that translates to about 60,000 new workers and investors being allowed to enter an economy of 80 million jobs each year with almost 11 million vacancies.

If we could increase the legal limit to half a million, two things could happen:

  1. We could reduce our labor shortage and control inflation, because immigrant labor would theoretically reduce wage increases.
  2. We could solve our illegal immigration problem because more immigrants could come here legally.

Unfortunately, however, self-interest and fear of immigrants (something we as a country have had for a long time) outweighs common sense in our current political system.

USCIS is now accepting DACA renewal applications electronically. contact us to Kuck Baxter Immigration to help you with your current legal issues.

Michael A. Bynum