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Immigrant families camp out for DeKalb school enrollment | News

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Immigrant families camp out for DeKalb school enrollment

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- On the final Friday of summer break, families began waiting overnight to be among the 60 who would make it inside the DeKalb Schools International Welcome Center to register their children for the first day of classes on Monday.

As many as 100 families were turned away.

"It's very painful," said Mukund Kutrioti, from India. "This is crazy."

Friday wasn't the first day for long lines for this mandatory step in the registration process for immigrant and refugee students.

"We came Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and today," said Francis Karquin. "Today, I sent my husband to wait at about 4 in the morning."

And even that wasn't early enough to make the cutoff.

"Coming Monday is no good," said William Avilla, who stayed home from work to try to register his brother-in-law for high school. The 16 year old is one of more than 1,000 unaccompanied children from Central America who are now in Georgia.

"Does this line have anything to do with the unaccompanied children coming over the border?" asked 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie.

"I have not seen a lot of them," said Sandra Nunez, the director of the Welcome Center. "We've had some, but we have not seen an increase in the number of unaccompanied minors."

Nunez said the long line was the result of a last-minute rush and misinformation about the registration deadline. There isn't one.

"The truth is that every child will be registered, and every child will be placed in the right instructional program," Nunez explained.

Even with extra staff, the process of verifying paperwork and testing students' language skills takes time.

School officials anticipate another long line on Monday.