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National Restaurant Association - Lawyers answer employers’ immigration questions

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Lawyers answer employers’ immigration questions

With the Obama Administration's deferred-action initiative for young unauthorized immigrants now underway, eligible young people have begun applying for temporary deferred-deportation status under the initiative, which also grants qualified applicants temporary work authorization.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, was unveiled in mid-June and kicked into full gear Aug. 15. The program allows people who came to the United States illegally before their 16th birthday an opportunity to apply for a status that temporarily halts deportations and some other enforcement actions.

To be eligible, young immigrants must have been under age 31 as of June 15, 2012, and meet a series of other criteria, including showing that they have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years prior to June 15, 2012.

Immigration attorneys on a Sept. 7 conference call organized by ImmigrationWorks USA discussed common employer questions as more people apply for DACA status.

The attorneys stressed that employers are bound by all current immigration laws, particularly rules that prohibit employers from knowingly hiring -- or continuing to employ -- someone who is not authorized to work in the United States.

The attorneys covered a range of questions, including an employer's liability under immigration laws if they know an employee is applying for DACA status, and thus unauthorized to work in the United States; how long the DACA application/approval process takes; whether DACA applications will bring increased scrutiny or audit risks to businesses where DACA applicants work; and what to do if employees come to employers with new work-authorization documents if they are granted DACA status.

The ImmigrationWorks conference call is available for employers to listen to at www.immigrationworksusa.com. ImmigrationWorks USA is a federation of state-based, pro-immigration business coalitions from across America. The National Restaurant Association is a trade-association partner of ImmigrationWorks USA, working jointly on various projects.

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