Schools and government offices are being swamped with record requests from illegal aliens attempting to prove their eligibility for President Obama’s deferred action amnesty program (DACA).
Under the new policy, in order to be eligible for deferred action, illegal aliens must show that they:
- Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
- Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and be present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
- Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
- Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
- Are not above the age of thirty.
Since U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting DACA applications in August, illegal aliens under thirty-one have been scrambling to acquire the necessary documentation to prove they qualify for the program. As a result, schools and other governmental offices granting such records have been flooded with requests. According Rafael Balderas, a principal at a Los Angeles high school, his school is “being inundated” with transcript requests from students seeking to prove their schooling. (Huffington Post, Sept. 17, 2012) In total, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is facing a backlog of 2,300 requests, and they anticipate 50,000 more over the next few months. (Id.) Los Angeles is only one of many affected areas. Schools in the Dallas, Texas area have reported a doubling of transcript requests, and schools in Aurora, Colorado report increases since July as well. (Dallas Morning News, Sept. 21, 2012; see also Huffington Post, Sept. 25, 2012)
To cope with the increased number of requests, local governments are considering hiring more personnel at taxpayer expense. For example, Tarrant County, Texas, whose district clerk has experienced a tripling of requests for felony record searches, is having to consider the possibility of paying additional staff to help with the increased workload. (Fort Worth Star Telegram, Aug. 29, 2012) “We’re trying to handle this with existing personnel,” said Tarrant County District Clerk Tom Wilder. “[It] remains to be seen if we can do that…but that’s a job we’re supposed to do under the law so we’re doing it,” he explained. (Id.) The LAUSD expects to pay upwards of $200,000 in staffing costs, not including overtime, for employees working to satisfy the demand for transcripts. (Huffington Post, Sept. 17, 2012) San Diego public schools are anticipating an added expense of $45,000, and will hire five new employees to cope with increased transcript requests. (AZ Central, Sept. 25, 2012)
Upon announcing the DACA program, the Administration claimed it would be self-funded by a $465 application fee. DHS has yet to develop a program to reimburse state and local governments for the cost of administering the program.