Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Filling Out Forms: Deferred Action

Wrote recently about Cass Sunstein and the OMB form approval process.  Today is the first day people can apply for "deferred action for childhood arrivals".  From the website:
Over the past three years, this Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform the immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system. As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, including individuals convicted of crimes with particular emphasis on violent criminals, felons, and repeat offenders, DHS will exercise prosecutorial discretion as appropriate to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines.  Individuals who demonstrate that they meet the guidelines below may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and may be eligible for employment authorization.
Here's the application.  Note it can be filled in online, which is good, and it has an OMB clearance.  I suspect it was put together in a hurry.  I wonder about the software backing it up.  Apparently the process means: fill out online and print the form, mail the completed forms to a "lockbox" facility with the fee.  The forms are scanned to pick up the data.

A couple of nits: some of the entry blocks are blue shaded, some aren't.  The drop-down lists of state abbreviations includes "AA" and "AE", which points up the error of not including state name.  I also question whether the language on the site is clear English, but then they're anticipating criticism.

More seriously--I see we're still imposing our name structure on the rest of the world (first, middle, last; which doesn't work well for some of the other cultures in the world).

Returning to my previous post: this example both fits and doesn't fit.  It is a case of a new program which requires a new information collection.  But since it's the President's own priority and a key to a reelection, I'm sure Prof. Sunstein cleared it personally through OMB.  And since it's still using a hybrid process to collect data (i.e. print completed form then scan) it's an example of how backward even the Obama administration's effort at egovernment are.

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