Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP’s VP of Immigration Policy on Reintroduction of BRIDGE Act
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s VP of Immigration Policy on Reintroduction of BRIDGE Act

Washington, D.C. — Today, Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Mike Coffman (R-CO) reintroduced the Bar Removal of Immigrants Who Dream and Grow Our Economy, or BRIDGE, Act, a bipartisan and bicameral piece of legislation 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:

We applaud the bipartisan leadership demonstrated today in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in support of Dreamers. The 752,000 young people who have received DACA since 2012 are making enormous contributions to our country and our communities. Stripping protection from DACA recipients and effectively kicking them out of the workforce would cost the country greatly: $433.4 billion in cumulative GDP over 10 years and billions of dollars annually for states across the country. So it should come as no surprise that support for DACA recipients is pouring in from mayors and college presidents, as well as business leaders and law enforcement in places such as Nebraska, Illinois, Florida, and Colorado.

Testimony provided yesterday by former Dreamer Sgt. Oscar Vazquez of the U.S. Army highlighted that hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients are now living in fear and are worried that in a matter of days, everything they have and all they have worked for could be placed in jeopardy. Those fears were not allayed during the confirmation hearings of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Gen. John Kelly for attorney general and secretary of homeland security, respectively.

President-elect Donald Trump has said that he will “work something out [for Dreamers] that’s going to make people happy and proud.” It is CAP’s intention to hold him to that, beginning on the day he takes office. But every day that goes by without a solution—even a temporary one such as that offered by the BRIDGE Act—is a day when DACA recipients will lose their protections and once more become vulnerable to deportation. It is our collective responsibility to respond to what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the fierce urgency of now.”

The BRIDGE Act would allow DACA-eligible individuals to apply for provisional protected presence—a reprieve from deportation and a work permit—that would last for three years from the date of the bill’s passage. It 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 the United States’ outdated immigration system. The bill would allow Dreamers to continue to work, go to school, and contribute to the country they call home.

For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, please contact Tanya Arditi at [email protected] or 202-741-6258.