An avalanche of transcript requests from students hoping to qualify for the federal Deferred Action program has overwhelmed Orange County's schools, leaving many paying overtime and reassigning staff to deal with huge backlogs.
Some school districts are reporting they've had 10 to 20 times more transcript requests in just the first two months of this school year compared to all of last year.
Under the program announced by President Barack Obama in June, youths who came to the United States as children and stayed illegally can apply for work permits and two years' protection from deportation. The youth must provide proof they have lived continuously in the country since 2007, with transcripts and diplomas serving as proof of residency.
A report by the Migration Policy Institute estimated that California has about 460,000 of the 1.76 million undocumented youths nationwide. It's unclear how many of those are in Orange County, because schools are prohibited from asking for students' immigration status. Most districts also don't ask why parents are requesting transcripts, which could be for a variety of reasons.
Officials in Santa Ana Unified, the county's largest district with 54,000 students, do ask why transcripts are wanted. They estimate the district has received 6,100 transcript requests in the last two months just for the deferred action program. (MORE)