Washington, D.C. — Today, Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced the BRIDGE, or Bar Removal of Immigrants Who Dream and Grow the Economy, Act which is designed to protect recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Tom Jawetz, Vice President of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
Sen. Graham got it right two weeks ago when he said that “[t]he worst outcome is to repeal the legal status that [DACA recipients] have.” We applaud Sens. Durbin and Graham for taking an important step in helping to avoid that unnecessary and destructive outcome. The BRIDGE Act recognizes the positive effect that DACA recipients are making today, as the more than 741,000 recipients have gotten more education and better jobs; helped support their families and communities; and helped grow the economy for all Americans. DACA has widespread support from mayors and college presidents, among other groups, and protecting them should be a no-brainer. The bill would allow DACA-eligible individuals to apply for provisional protected presence—a reprieve from deportation and a work permit—which would last for three years from the date of the bill’s passage.
While we look forward to working with Sens. Durbin and Graham to pass this legislation and hope that Republican leadership in the Senate and in the House move this bill forward, our attention remains fixed on the incoming administration that has full authority to preserve DACA all on its own. We also believe that this bipartisan effort should send a strong message to the president-elect that he should be working to protect and integrate—not exclude and deport—hardworking immigrants in our communities.
The BRIDGE Act would not give anyone permanent status, and it does not protect the parents and relatives of DACA recipients, who will remain at risk of deportation and family separation in the absence of meaningful reforms to our outdated immigration system. The bill would allow Dreamers to continue to work, go to school, and contribute to the country they call home.
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