On Tuesday, DHS officials hosted a conference call with educators in regard to school records serving as documentation for DACA applicants. During the call, DHS officials advised educators that school records serve as two-pronged pieces of evidence: firstly, they prove that applicants are either still in school, or have graduated high school, and secondly, they prove continuous presence in the country for at least four years. One of the requirements to be eligible for DACA is continuous presence in the country for five years; DHS officials explained, “[school records is] fantastic evidence in a single document.” Educators seemed concerned by the fact that, while school records can indeed prove presence in the country for four years, summer and other breaks are not accounted for. DHS officials replied by stating that there is no requirement for applicants to account for any given day during school breaks. Additionally, the officials affirmed that the agency, when processing the applications, will keep in mind that schools do have regular breaks.
One of the most important questions on educators’ minds was the question of federal financial aid. If granted DACA, educators wanted to know, would the students then qualify to receive grants or be eligible to participate in work-study programs. The answer given by the immigration officials was disappointing but seemingly expected: DACA provides only two benefits: removing the possibility of deportation and obtaining work authorization, both for at least two years. Those individuals granted DACA will not receive any other benefits such as federal financial aid.
Some school districts have been highly cooperative with DACA applicants in expediting the processing rates of providing school records to requestors. Thus far, how has your experience been in obtaining your school records? Does your school charge a fee? Is the waiting time too long? Have you encountered any serious difficulties in obtaining the records? Share your experience here!