Blog: The Educated Reporter

‘Deferred Action’ Program For Immigrant Students Slows Amid Concerns

The Wall St. Journal’s Miriam Jordan had an interesting story about a slowdown in applications for President Obama’s controversial “deferred action” program for immigrant students. Apparently uncertainty about how much information applicants must share with immigration authorities, as well as concerns about the outcome of the presidential election, is making some people reluctant to apply.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program offers a means of obtaining a legal two-year permit to work or attend school, and is not a pathway to citizenship. To qualify, individuals must be 30 years old or younger, and have lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007. They must also have stayed out of trouble with no record of serious crimes.

As Jordan notes in her story,  Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said in a speech in June that he would put his “own long-term solution” in place that would “replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure.”

As a result, “a lot of people are waiting to see what happens Nov. 6 before deciding whether to take the plunge,” Maurice Goldman, an immigration attorney in Tucson, Ariz., told the Wall St. Journal.

At the same time, school districts with large populations of immigrant students have been flooded with requests for transcripts from young adults who are eager to prove a central requirement of the program — that they are either in school, have graduated, or have earned a GED.

The Los Angeles Times’ Howard Blume reports that the nation’s second-largest school district has an estimated 200,000 current and former students who could be eligible for the new federal program. Faced with an overwhelming number of requests and a shortage of staff due to statewide budget cuts, the city’s Board of Education has set an ambitous goal of clearing out the current backlog and processing future requests within seven days.

Some questions for education reporters to consider; What has been the response to the DACA program in your community? Are schools holding informational sessions for students and families to help improve understanding of the policy? How are community groups getting involved?



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