SEPTEMBER 18, 2012
President Obama’s controversial plan to spare nearly 1 million young illegal immigrants from deportation is costing a major public school system already suffering through a budget crisis hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It’s also created a “bureaucratic nightmare” for the large urban district, according to a local news report. Here is why; under Obama’s “deferred action process,” announced in June, illegal aliens 30 and younger can remain in the U.S. and obtain work permits if they entered the country as children (“through no fault of their own,” as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano loves to say).
Applicants must prove they have lived in the U.S. continuously since 2007 so they are rushing to obtain school records that confirm it. In the case of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), an estimated 200,000 current and former students are eligible for Obama’s special amnesty program and they are flooding schools throughout the sprawling district to get documents.
This is “creating a backlog and new challenges for the nation’s second-largest school system,” according to the local newspaper story published this week. It’s also costing the district at least $200,000 in staff expenses since the Board of Education took action last week to help expedite the process. All records requested to comply with the federal amnesty program must be handled within 35 days, according to the directive.
Some principals have made it a priority, ordering already overwhelmed and scarce clerical staff to provide documents within 72 hours of a request. This is because officials understand the sense of urgency among applicants, the news story says, who worry about their window closing should Obama fail to win reelection in November.
While this particular story focused on just one cash-strapped public school system, this is surely occurring in others throughout the nation. In fact, a publication dedicated to covering education wrote a piece last month confirming that “school records will be among the key documents that young undocumented immigrants must submit in their requests for deferred action.”
Preparing for the deluge, educators asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) how “official” school records must be, the story says. The answer, according to DHS officials, is that there is no fixed requirement and that the agency handling the deferred action requests—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—is prepared to accept any documents that schools provide to applicants.
Just a few weeks ago DHS officials complained that illegal immigrants are exploiting the new deferred action program because no proof is required and amnesty is being granted based solely on individuals’ claims. In fact, the DHS officials revealed that federal immigration officers have been ordered by the Obama Administration to release illegal immigrants arrested for violent crimes as long as they claim to be “dreamers” who came to the U.S. as children and are being allowed to remain in the country under the new policy.
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