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How DACA/TPS Holders Can Navigate the Hiring Process

The following blog post first appeared on the ALPFA Newsletter for students. 

While finding a good job and meaningful career can be challenging for any young job seeker, misinformation and a lack of awareness can add additional obstacles for hundreds of thousands of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and TPS (Temporary Protected Status) holders.

DACA and TPS holders should know their rights and know that their active DACA and TPS status allows them to obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) to work legally in the U.S. When a DACA/TPS holder is hired, the employer is required to verify identity and work authorization. An EAD is the only work-authorization document that an employer needs to do so.

Employers cannot:

  • Ask for more or different work authorization documents;
  • Reject EAD because of citizenship status or national origin; or
  • Ask about immigration status.

Kevin Ortiz, with the BB&T Leadership Institute and a TheDream.US Alum, provided tips for DACA/TPS job seekers and on helping unknowing recruiters and H.R. managers during the hiring process: “Keep it simple! During the interview, reinforce the fact that you are authorized to work. Your specific immigration status should not be a factor during the interview or hiring process.” He added, “The best thing to do during an interview is to align yourself with the company and to keep it conversational without oversharing. Own your journey and don’t sell yourself short. You are just as deserving of the position as the next candidate!”

A 2017 survey of DACA recipients found that after receiving DACA status, 69% percent of DACA recipients reported moving to a job with better pay, 56% moved to a job with better working conditions; and 54% moved to a job that “better fits my education and training,” and “better fits my long-term career goals.”

Helping DACA and TPS recipients know their rights and helping employers and H.R. professionals spread the word about the real facts around hiring this pool of talented job seekers is a win-win for all of us that could help move those percentages even higher.

– Gaby Pacheco is a national immigrant rights leader and the Director of Advocacy, Development, and Communications at TheDream.US.