The stalemate in Washington over an immigration deal could rattle the labor force in key sectors of the economy, prompting several big-name companies to provide legal support to affected employees.
The restaurant and construction industries would be hardest hit by the expiration of the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which provides protected status to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. It covers about 700,000 immigrants, although roughly double that number are estimated to be eligible for the program.
Nearly 19 percent of working DACA recipients hold jobs in food service, according to an analysis by the advocacy group New American Economy. The construction sector employs another 10 percent. Together, they account for about 240,000 people.
Other industries with significant numbers of immigrants eligible for DACA are health care and landscaping, as well academia, which each employ about 2 percent of workers.
“DACA makes business sense because it brings young, well-educated talent out of the shadows and into the mainstream workforce,” said Jeremy Robbins, executive director of New American Economy.