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Immigrant ‘Dreamers’ in Search of a Job Are Being Turned Away

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President Trump hopes to end DACA, which has granted employment authorization to thousands of young immigrants. Already, some large employers are refusing to hire them. David Rodriguez, a DACA recipient from Venezuela, received a rejection letter from one company after revealing his immigration status.Credit…Maria Alejandra Cardona for The New York Times   MIAMI — Nattily dressed,

President Trump hopes to end DACA, which has granted employment authorization to thousands of young immigrants. Already, some large employers are refusing to hire them.

David Rodriguez, a DACA recipient from Venezuela, received a rejection letter from one company after revealing his immigration status.Credit…Maria Alejandra Cardona for The New York Times

 

MIAMI — Nattily dressed in a sports coat and slacks, David Rodriguez took a seat in the front row to hear a presentation about an internship opportunity at Procter & Gamble, the consumer giant.

What he heard excited him, said Mr. Rodriguez, a Venezuelan immigrant who was studying business at Florida International University. The company valued diversity. It aimed to hire interns as full-time employees after they graduated. But when he applied, one question on the form stumped him: “Are you currently a U.S. citizen or national, OR an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, OR a refugee, OR an individual granted asylum?”

He was none of these things. He informed the company that he was a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, under which he and thousands of other young immigrants have permission to work legally in the country.

Before his qualifications were even considered, he received a rejection letter.

“It was like a punch in the stomach,” Mr. Rodriguez, who is now 37, said of the experience in 2013 that undermined everything he understood about his status in the United States.

He is now a plaintiff in a lawsuit that seeks to use civil rights law to prevent employers from turning away immigrants like himself, a legal fight that is underway even as President Trump is threatening to end the program.

Since its introduction by the Obama administration in 2012, DACA has enrolled some 800,000 undocumented immigrants, often called Dreamers, who were brought to the country illegally as children. Many have gone on to graduate from college and build successful lives under the program, which has bipartisan support in Congress.

Yet while the courts have accepted DACA’s legality and have blocked the recent attempts to abruptly cancel it, some of the country’s biggest companies are unilaterally refusing to hire Dreamers. Since Mr. Trump stepped up his attacks on the program, the employment roadblocks have become even more prevalent.

These employers, including Procter & Gamble, say they are wary of investing time and money to train workers whose long-term employment eligibility is not secure. Other firms want to avoid getting ensnared in the nation’s contentious immigration debate.

“On the one hand employers are trying to hire the best talent available to stay afloat and recover from Covid-19 while on the other hand they are worried about investing the time and resources to train someone who could get deported,” said Woody Hunt, the co-chair of the American Business Immigration Coalition, a group that advocates immigration reform.

It is impossible to know how many people have been denied jobs based on their DACA status, said Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which has filed several lawsuits against companies that refused to hire DACA recipients.

Bank of America and Northwestern Mutual are among those that have settled such employment cases. M&T Bank and Procter & Gamble are defendants in current lawsuits.

“If major companies are engaging in this practice, countless smaller companies are doing the same thing,” Mr. Saenz said.

Concern about hiring DACA recipients has intensified since the Trump administration announced in September 2017 that it would dismantle the program, throwing its survival into doubt even as courts forced the government to keep it in place.

“Employers come to me saying, ‘I would love to hire this person but my worry is that I hire them, invest three or four months in training them and if Trump does away with the program then I have to hire and train a new person.’ That gets expensive and time-consuming,” said Dagmar Butte, an immigration lawyer in Portland, Ore.

“I tell them, ‘If you really like this person, this program is not dead yet. So you shouldn’t assume they will be unable to continue working for you. But if your reason for not hiring the person is a business reason, then that is a decision for you to make,’” Ms. Butte said.

Some employers say the advantages of hiring DACA recipients outweigh the risks.

Alivio Medical Center, located in an immigrant enclave of Chicago, employs doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who have employment eligibility through DACA, aware that they are “potentially deportable,” said Esther Corpuz, its chief executive.

She said their life experiences as immigrants and diverse cultural backgrounds are assets. “These providers really are able in a professional and empathetic way to treat our patients,” she said.

David MacNeil, who built an automotive accessories empire, WeatherTech, in Bolingbrook, Ill., said some of its “very best” employees are DACA recipients.

“U.S. educated and bilingual, they help us sell American-made goods all over the world. We couldn’t support our export customers without them,” said Mr. MacNeil, a Trump supporter who said he would not consider terminating an employee who has a legal work permit simply “because they might not be able to continue to work for you.”

That came close to happening to Ismael Hernandez.

He graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with an accounting degree in 2013, a year after DACA was introduced.

“It felt like I could open a window and feel a cool breeze for the first time; I could breathe,” recalled Mr. Hernandez, 29, who was brought to the United States from Mexico when he was 5 months old. He amassed the necessary documents and plunked down $465 to apply for the program, renewing every two years.

Thanks to DACA, he qualified for a job at a top accounting firm. A few years later, he took a position in the tax department of a well-known internet company, also in Chicago. But when the Trump administration announced it would wind down the program, Mr. Hernandez was summoned for a meeting. “I had a gut feeling that it was about DACA,” he recalled.

Across the table, a human resources officer and two company lawyers explained that they would have to discuss a “contingency plan” for his job, in view of the administration’s move to end the program, and that they must tell Mr. Hernandez’s manager about his precarious status.

The next day, the situation got worse. “We don’t know if you’ll even be able to stay in the country,” Mr. Hernandez said he was told. “We need to think of the company. We want to post the job.”

Fighting back tears, Mr. Hernandez urged them to wait until his DACA status expired the following year before taking any action. Ultimately, they agreed.

In the meantime, Mr. Hernandez married an American and received a green card. He has since changed jobs.

The first DACA employment lawsuit, in 2014, was filed in federal court in New York against the financial company Northwestern Mutual on behalf of Ruben Juarez, a college graduate and immigrant from Mexico.

In late 2013, a recruiter had expressed enthusiasm for hiring him. But after he presented his work permit, Mr. Juarez was asked whether he was a U.S. citizen or green-card holder, according to court documents.

Mr. Juarez said he had employment authorization through DACA, and was told that noncitizens needed a green card to be hired. The parties settled out of court in 2015, and as part of its terms, the company began a program aimed at recruiting immigrants, including DACA recipients.

In Miami, Mr. Rodriguez never imagined that he would end up being part of a class-action lawsuit against the maker of iconic brands like Pampers, Tide and Crest.

He still remembers the day he received his employment authorization card in December 2012. “I felt like I had just unwrapped a chocolate bar with a golden ticket,” he said of the card, the size of a driver’s license, tucked in his wallet.

Having worked for years at restaurants and bars, he could put his higher education to use and fulfill his professional aspirations.

After he was rejected for the internship at Procter & Gamble, he sought clarification from the company’s recruiter. “Unfortunately, per P & G Policy, applicants in the U.S. should be legally authorized to work with no restraints on the type, duration, or location of employment,” the recruiter emailed back, adding, “If your status in the future were to change to no restrictions, please shoot me a note.”

The case, which is now pending in Miami federal court, turns on language in the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that prohibits “alienage discrimination,” or discrimination because a person is not a citizen of the United States.

The complaint asserts that Procter & Gamble’s policy constituted unlawful discrimination. The company’s lawyers argued that the decision not to hire Mr. Rodriguez was based strictly on his immigration status, an issue that is commonly a subject of employment decisions. It said the rejection was not unlawful because it was “not synonymous” with alienage discrimination.

In June, a federal judge denied a motion for summary judgment and decided that the case should proceed to trial, deeming the policy to be “facially discriminatory” and in violation of the civil rights law. The company is seeking to appeal the summary judgment ruling.

Procter & Gamble said the company believed it had acted legally and would continue to defend the case in court.

“For perspective, we hire people with the expectation of a long-term career,” the company said in a statement. “So our recruitment systems focus on people with long-term work authorization in the U.S.”

It said the company’s application process had been modified to allow for greater flexibility since the lawsuit was filed. “The company has and will continue to consider individuals authorized to work under DACA for employment opportunities at P & G.” It did not say whether any DACA recipients had been hired under its revised policies.

His hopes of working at Procter & Gamble dashed, Mr. Rodriguez decided to pivot to real estate, a booming sector in Miami.

He extended his studies at Florida International University, graduating summa cum laude in 2017 with a major in business administration and a concentration in real estate and finance.

He currently works at Lincoln Property, one of the country’s largest real estate management companies. In Miami, one of the most diverse cities in the country with a booming population of Spanish-speaking immigrants, Mr. Rodriguez himself is a hot property.

Source: Immigrant ‘Dreamers’ in Search of a Job Are Being Turned Away

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Immigration Reform

Biden plans sweeping reversal of Trump immigration agenda

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BIDEN IMMIGRATION REFORM

President-elect Joe Biden is planning a swift reversal of President Trump’s most controversial immigration policies. CBS News’ Camilo Montoya-Galvez reports the incoming Democrat plans to dismantle within his first 100 days much of the agenda Mr. Trump has laid out over the last four years. Montoya-Galvez joins CBSN to break down Mr. Biden’s immigration plans.

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Immigration Reform

Biden plans to unravel Trump’s immigration policies during his first 100 days

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Great news for DACA and Dreamers.

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Politics / Legislation

Where Does Joe Biden Stand on Immigration?

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We are just 60 days away from Election day in the United States which falls on Tuesday, November 3rd. Do you know where your candidate stands on immigration? In this post, we cover Presidential nominee Joe Biden’s stance on important immigration issues, and everything you need to know about his vision for America. We would,

We are just 60 days away from Election day in the United States which falls on Tuesday, November 3rd. Do you know where your candidate stands on immigration? In this post, we cover Presidential nominee Joe Biden’s stance on important immigration issues, and everything you need to know about his vision for America.

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind those of our readers who are American citizens to exercise their right to vote. It is your civic duty and will help shape the nation’s immigration policy for the next four years. For voter registration information please click here.


Immigration under Joe Biden

If elected President of the United States, Joe Biden has stated that he will enact a number of policies during his four-year term. Among these policies, he promises to take urgent action to undo destructive policies implemented by the Trump administration, modernize the immigration system, reassert America’s commitment to asylum-seekers and refugees, and implement effective border screening.


Comprehensive Immigration Reform

First and foremost, Joe Biden supports working with Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration solution that would offer nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. As vice president, Joe Biden worked alongside former President Obama to push forward a bill that would do just that. Unfortunately, the Republican-led Congress refused to approve the bill, leaving millions of undocumented immigrants in limbo including Dreamers.

Joe Biden advocates for the creation and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program,  the Central American Minors program, which allows parents with legal status in the U.S. to apply to bring their children from Central America to live with them, and the creation of a White House task force to support new Americans to integrate into American life and their communities.


Overview of Biden’s Immigration Commitments

Temporary Seasonal Workers. Biden wishes to work with Congress to reform the current system of temporary work visas to allow seasonal workers in select industries to easily switch jobs, while certifying the labor market’s need for foreign workers. Employers would be required to pay prevailing wages and ensure the right of all workers to join a union and exercise their labor rights.

High-skilled Temporary Visas. Biden will also work with Congress to reform temporary visas to establish a wage-based allocation process and create fraud prevention mechanisms. Biden supports expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country, eliminating the backlogs.

Legalization for Agricultural Workers. For agricultural workers, Biden would support legislation between farmworkers and the agricultural industry to provide them with legal status based on prior agricultural work history, to ensure a “fast track” green card process ultimately workers them to apply for citizenship.

Removing Per-Country Cap Limitations. Biden is strongly against the current per-country cap visa limitations and the long waiting periods families must wait to be reunited. Biden will support a family-based immigration system allowing any approved applicant to receive a temporary non-immigrant visa until a permanent visa is processed, and will support legislation that treats spouses and children of green card holders as immediate relatives exempting them from the caps, and allowing parents to bring minor children with them at the time they immigrate.

Preserving the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. Biden will continue to support the diversity visa lottery program and preserve the program.

Increase Employment Based Visas. Regarding employment-based visas, Biden will work with Congress to increase the number of visas for permanent employment-based immigration and temporarily reduce the number of visas during times of high U.S. unemployment. Biden would exempt from any cap recent graduates of PhD programs in STEM fields in the US.

New Visa Category for Cities and Counties Seeking Immigrant Work. Biden supports creating a new visa category that would allow cities and counties to petition for higher levels of immigrant to support their growth, provided employers certify there are available jobs and no workers to fill them. Holders of these visas would need to work and reside in the city or county that petitioned them and be subject to certification protections similar to employment-based immigrants.

Expansion of U Visa Program. Biden will expand the U visa program to include eligibility for workers who report certain workplace crimes.

Increase visas for Domestic Violence Survivors and Victims of Crime. Finally, Biden plans to triple the current cap of 10,000 on U-visas and increase visas for domestic violence survivors.


Policy on Removal and Enforcement Actions

Joe Biden plans to focus his administration on prioritizing removal and enforcement actions on persons who pose a threat to national security and public safety. The Biden administration would not target the removal of working-class undocumented immigrants and their families. Biden also promises to end mass workplace raids and prevent enforcement actions and operations at sensitive locations including schools, hospitals, and places of worship.

With regard to the influx of undocumented immigration from Central America, the Biden administration would address the root of the problem, by securing bipartisan support and funding to countries in the Northern Triangle to help these countries tackle violence and insecurity, lack of economic opportunity, and corruption in the region.


Joe Biden’s 100-Day Plan

Within his first 100 days in office, the Biden administration commits to:

  • Immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s policies that have separated parents from children at the border, including ending prosecution of parents for minor immigration violations, and prioritizing family reunification.
  • Immediately reverse the Trump administration’s public charge rule
  • End the “national emergency” imposed by the Trump administration to enable the Department of Defense to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border
  • Protect Dreamers and their families, by reinstating the DACA program and exploring all legal options to protect families from inhumane separation
  • Restore and defend the naturalization process for green card holders by removing roadblocks to naturalization, addressing the application backlog and rejecting imposition of unreasonable fees
  • End the Trump administration’s detrimental asylum policies
  • Rescind the travel and refugee bans also known as the “Muslim bans” by the Trump administration
  • Review Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for vulnerable populations and introduce a bill that will allow TPS/DED holders who have been in the country for an extended period of time, a path to citizenship
  • End the mismanagement of the asylum system to ensure asylum applications are processing fairly and efficiently
  • Increase humanitarian resources at the border through a network of organizations including faith-based shelters, non-governmental aid organizations, legal non-profits, and other organizations
  • End prolonged detention and investment in a case management program, by supporting the Flores agreement which prevents the detention of children indefinitely
  • Restore sensible enforcement prioritizes targeting threats to public safety and national security, and not workers and their families

To read more about Joe Biden’s proposed policies on immigration please click here.


Source: Where Does Joe Biden Stand on Immigration?

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