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Impact of employment authorization document cards on employers

The excitement surrounding the recent implementation of the deferred deportation program has thus far mostly focused on the steps young immigrants who are in the United States without papers need to take to put off the possibility of deportation for two years, as well as work legally in the country. But how does this new policy impact the businesses employing these workers?

For new workers, the procedure will be fairly straightforward. Under the new policy, young people will receive employment authorization document cards, or EAD cards,  that provide proof of their legal right to work in the U.S. Employers can use these EAD cards to verify the individual's ability to work for the business on an I-9 form, as required.

Things could potentially be more complicated for employers, some of whose current employees may have provided earlier, contradictory documents in order to I-9 requirements. While an employer may feel betrayed and therefore want to fire the employee who now has an EAD card, that course of action should not be undertaken lightly, since it could result in a claim of discrimination.

Any employer who continues to employ someone who presents the EAD card needs to focus on recordkeeping. To protect the business, it is important to keep not only the documentation regarding the EAD card but also the previously collected information. In addition, it is a good idea to complete a memorandum that documents what exactly happened with the employee's documentation, and when.

Immigration matters in the workplace can be complicated. The introduction of the EAD cards is sure to provide some confusion. An immigration attorney can likely clarify any of those questions.

Source: Business Week, "Lawyers Expect Young Immigrants to Flood Small Employers," Karen E. Klein, Aug. 20, 2012

  • Our law firm handles a variety of immigration matters, including those pertaining to employment similar to the issues discussed in today's post. Please visit our Miami I-9 compliance page to learn more about us.

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