WASHINGTON DC (KWQC) – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have announced that they will be introducing bipartisan legislation intended to protect young undocumented people. This legislation would protect individuals currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program if the Trump administration discontinues DACA.
U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) are the original cosponsors of the bill.
The proposed legislation is called The Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act. Like DACA, the BRIDGE Act would protect young people by providing temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for young adults who were brought to the US as children.
“DREAMers have so much to contribute to this country, their country, and they’ve demonstrated their commitment to the United States in countless ways – by opening businesses, becoming doctors and teachers, and serving in uniform,” Senator Durbin said in a press release. “That’s why I’m proud to work with Senator Graham to ensure that DREAMers are protected from deportation until we are able to provide a permanent fix for our broken immigration system. These kids are Americans at heart and deserve to remain in the only country they call home.”
Representatives for Senator Durbin provided this information on the BRIDGE Act:
The BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy) Act would provide temporary relief from deportation and employment authorization to individuals who are eligible for the Department of Homeland Security’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program.
DACA provides temporary protection from removal and work authorization to young students and veterans who grew up in the United States if they register with the government, pay a fee, and pass a criminal background check. More than 740,000 young people have received DACA. Temporary protection under the BRIDGE Act would ensure that these young people can continue to work and study and be protected from deportation while Congress debates broader legislation to fix our broken immigration system.
The BRIDGE Act would provide “provisional protected presence” and employment authorization to DACA-eligible individuals. A current DACA recipient would receive provisional protected presence until the expiration date of his or her DACA status and could apply for provisional protected presence prior to that expiration. An individual who is not a DACA recipient but who is eligible for DACA could also apply for provisional protected presence.
Applicants would be required to pay a reasonable fee, undergo criminal background checks, and meet a number of eligibility criteria indicating that they came to the United States as minors, grew up in this country, have pursued an education, have not committed any serious crimes, and do not pose a threat to our country.
An individual’s provisional protected presence and employment authorization would be subject to revocation by DHS if the individual no longer met the eligibility criteria.
The BRIDGE Act would provide provisional protected presence and employment authorization for three years after the date of enactment of the legislation.