DACA Remains in Limbo For Now
By: Rebecca Hause-Schultz
On September 5, 2017, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or “DACA” program was terminated by President Trump and is set to begin winding down on March 5. You can read more about the DACA phase-out here. A bipartisan group of senators have been working on legislation to preserve DACA, while also addressing several other immigration issues. However, President Trump recently voiced concerns regarding the proposed legislation, and it is not clear if legislation addressing DACA will be passed.
In the meantime, this week, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup temporarily blocked the phase-out of DACA, granting a request by some states, including California, to keep the program in place. Judge Alsup said that the Trump administration was incorrect in its position that President Obama had gone beyond his legal authority in creating DACA, instead finding the creation of the program to be a “lawful exercise of authority.” The Judge further stated that because the decision to end the program was based on an incorrect reading of the law, it must be set aside.
The ruling gives some temporary relief to DACA recipients, known as “Dreamers,” however, it is important to note that the Trump Administration said it will appeal this decision, so a legislative fix remains the best hope for Dreamers.
DOL Reissues Slate of FLSA Opinion Letters
By: Jizell Lopez
On January 5, 2018, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) reissued 17 advisory opinion letters that had been previously published during President George W. Bush’s administration and rescinded by President Obama. These re-published opinion letters provide guidance for employers on a wide range of wage and hour issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).
The DOL stopped the practice of issuing opinion letters during the Obama administration, and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta announced last year that the Trump administration would renew the practice. This is clearly the first step in the process. We will have to wait and see if the DOL starts issuing new opinion letters.
The 17 re-issued opinion letters do not create “new law,” but rather are intended to provide employers with guidance regarding existing law. For a complete list of the re-issued opinion letters, click here.
ICE Agents Keep Promise of Increased Raids
By: Jizell Lopez
On January 10, 2018, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) raided close to 100 7-Eleven stores across 17 states, including California, as well as in Washington D.C. Managers and 7-Eleven franchise owners were given three days to provide ICE with records identifying employees’ immigration status. The raids represent the largest immigration crackdown of the Trump presidency.
Under the Trump administration, there has already been a 40 percent increase in deportation arrests, and this week’s mass raid appears to open a new front in Trump’s sharp expansion of immigration enforcement. Derek Benner, the acting head of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, stated that this week’s operation was “the first of many” and “a harbinger of what’s to come” for employers. Mr. Benner went on to say that employers will see more and more of these large-scale compliance inspections, and from there, “[ICE] will look at whether these cases warrant an administrative posture or criminal investigation.” Benner also made it clear that investigations are not going to be limited to large companies or any particular industry. Similarly, in a statement issued by ICE’s Acting Director, Thomas Homan, Mr. Homan proclaimed that “ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable.”
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
ICE had previously stated there would be more employment audits and investigations, and it seems they are keeping their word. Employers should have an action plan in place and be prepared should ICE show up to a worksite. The Saqui Law Group cheat sheet on “What to do When ICE Shows Up” is available here as a resource for employers to keep handy in the event of a raid. If you have any questions about what to do in the event of an ICE raid or developing a plan in the event of an ICE raid at your company, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group.