Ask the Experts: How should Dreamers communicate their work eligibility to prospective employers? was originally published on College Recruiter.
On President Biden’s first day in office he proposed an immigration bill that features a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and makes Dreamers — young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children — immediately eligible for green cards. The bill will need to make its way through Congress before he can sign it into law. To provide immediate assistance to Dreamers, Biden also signed an Executive Order “preserving and fortifying” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides protection against deportation and work authorization to certain Dreamers, a group that includes many current college students and young alumni.
When and how should Dreamers communicate their work eligibility to prospective employers when they’re applying for part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs?
When it comes to job applications and interviews with potential employers, it can be challenging for Dreamers to know when, how or if to disclose their immigration status. Ultimately, deciding whether to disclose your DACA status is up to the Dreamer. In fact, it is unlawful for an employer to deny you employment if you have a current employment authorization document and do not need sponsorship. We encourage you to start by getting informed and tapping into the resources available to you, these will help you engage in conversations with your future employers with confidence and determination. Don’t let disclosing your immigration status deter you from going after your dreams. When applying for your future job remember to own your story, you have valuable skills to contribute and are as deserving of the position as any other candidate. The first step is leveraging relevant resources that can help educate you:
- Get informed on Employment Rights with DACA:
- Understanding the law and what employers are allowed to ask for is key. Employers can only ask for work authorization documents as required by Form I-9, this includes a form of identification and authorization to work. The Employment Authorization Card (or work permit) granted to DACA recipients is a legal form of work authorization acceptable by Form I-9.
- According to TheDream.us Employer’s guide to hiring individuals with DACA, Dreamers are not required to disclose their immigration status, and employers are only required to ask for documentation that proves the applicant can lawfully work in the U.S.
- Leverage resource groups:
- Visit the National Immigration Law Center for a list of FAQs on how to apply for DACA, renew DACA status, and other legal advice.
- For Dreamers enrolled in a college or university or seeking to enroll, visit BestColleges for news and information on topics like financial aid and complete college guides for undocumented students.
- For DACA students, their university’s career center can also provide guidance with navigating conversations with employers.
- Seek guidance from fellow Dreamers:
- 72% of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies employ DACA recipients, this includes Amazon, General Motors, JPMorgan Chase, and Walmart. Connecting with Dreamers who have navigated employment conversations can provide advice and support.
- For more resources and to connect with fellow Dreamers visit Remember The Dreamers advocacy group.
Once you have equipped yourself with the information you need and are aware of your legal rights as a DACA recipient you can make your own decision whether or not to disclose your immigration status. For more on navigating internships, we invite you to visit our Key Internship Resources for Undocumented Students.
— Ahva Sadeghi is a passionate social entrepreneur and co-founder of Symba, a venture backed and all-female founded tech startup focused on the future of work. Ahva is an economist and researcher focused on remote work and workforce development.