Donald Trump’s decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—a decision he seems to have forgotten about—has upended the lives of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have permits to work and study in the United States thanks to the Obama-era policy. Among the many devastating effects of the chaos created by this administration, a group of DACA recipients say that companies aren’t hiring them because of their newly tenuous immigration status.
Vox reports that the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) has “filed class-action lawsuits against Merrill Lynch (owned by Bank of America), Procter & Gamble, and Allied Wealth Partners” on behalf of four DACA recipients, alleging that the companies discriminated against prospective employees or interns on basis of immigration status in New York, New Jersey, Florida, and California. DACA permits expire every two years and must be renewed, but due to Trump’s bullshit and the generally malicious composition of Congress, the fate of DACA is unknown. The lawsuits allege that applicants were denied by recruiters because they don’t have a specific work authorization status, like a green card or student visa.
The lawsuits come three years after DACA recipient and Yonkers, New York resident Ruben Juarez settled with Northwestern Mutual over a similar claim. As part of the agreement, the company started a DACA recipient recruitment program and promised to pay other DACA recipients they had rejected up to $7,500. The wave of class-action lawsuits now alleging similar discrimination suggests that this is actually pretty common. Which is incredibly fucked up but not surprising.
It’s unclear how many DACA workers have been barred from jobs in the past six years. Thomas Saenz, president of MALDEF, suspects that it happens pretty often.
“These are among the five largest and most sophisticated companies in the country,” Saenz told me, referring to the defendants in the cases. “You would expect that if they are engaging in this conduct, then probably much smaller companies who don’t have access to high-powered lawyers must be doing the same.”
In 2013, DACA recipient David Rodriguez was denied
for an internship with Procter & Gamble, but was told that “the company’s policy was that applicants had to be legally authorized to work in the U.S. without restraint on the type, duration, or nature of employment,” according to NBC. “I was really excited to possibly be working for a large company, because I am a first-generation immigrant without other family members whose career path I could follow,” he told NBC, “and I more than fulfilled the academic requirements.” Rodriquez is among the plaintiffs represented by MALDEF.
In a statement to Vox, Procter & Gamble said it doesn’t discriminate, “period.”
In 2017, the company was one of several major corporations that released statements denouncing the decision to rescind DACA. At the time, Procter & Gamble called on Congress to protect the program so that that the U.S. might “continue to benefit from the contributions of the 800,000 Dreamers.”
A nice sentiment, really.