Large application numbers expected for deportation amnesty program

The recently announced immigration initiatives designed by the Obama Administration have several government agencies scrambling to determine how they will cope with what is expected to be an incredibly high volume of deportation amnesty applications. The program in question, Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), is aimed at offering alternatives to American citizenship for immigrants who are already in the U.S. and are currently working. It is applicable to individuals who have children here, in that offering these people protection from deportation will allow them to avoid risk of separation from their children.

Concerns over processing
DAPA presents an interesting and unique challenge to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as the agency is going to be accountable for processing all of the applications received from immigrants currently residing within the U.S., according to the Washington Times. While USCIS has always been the main thoroughfare for individuals seeking naturalization or work status within the U.S., the amount of applications expected to be generated by this new act is somewhat unprecedented. In fact, the Los Angeles Times has reported that the agency has claimed that they anticipate roughly 800,000 applications relating to DAPA to come through in the first 90 days of eligibility. Applications to DAPA will begin being accepted on Feb. 18, 2015, and are expected to start processing in May of this year.

Dissenting viewpoints and actions
DAPA has not come without its fair share of naysaying individuals. While supporters and proponents of large-scale immigration reform have voiced their opinions strongly, there have been a number of high-profile moves made to deter DAPA. For example, a federal court in Texas is currently presiding over a case that has been brought against President Obama’s DAPA program by more than 25 states in the union. That movement has been led predominantly by high ranking republican officials from each respective state, many of them governors. In speaking with the Los Angeles Times on the matter, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) indicated the opposing viewpoints centered on allocation of resources.

“To carry out his plan [President Obama] will need to move money from lawful enforcement programs of DHS to unlawful policies that undermine enforcement,” said Sessions.

Taking action to make DAPA work
While the dissenting voices are certainly being heard, the federal government is wasting no time in attempting to ready themselves for the vast amount of DAPA applications expected. Multiple news sources have indicated that USCIS has begun looking for contractors to work two shifts each day, totaling more than 16 hours, whose sole job would be opening and processing mailed applications. In addition to this, the Obama Administration has leased a nearly 250,000-square-foot complex outside of D.C. in which it intends to build a staff to supplement USCIS’s efforts in this matter. The estimated payroll for that group is nearly $40 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.