BRIDGE Act: A Bipartisan Solution for DREAMers
Policy and Advocacy Associate
January 19, 2017
Currently, 750,000 young undocumented immigrants who came to America as children, have lived here since at least 2007, and met other requirements are participating in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in which they qualified for temporary protection from deportation and legal work authorization for a period of two years.
The BRIDGE Act (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy) is a bipartisan bill that would provide temporary protection from deportation for three years, as well as work authorization, for these 750,000 young adults, as well as other undocumented youth (DREAMers) brought to America as children.
What the BRIDGE Act Does
- The bill provides a one-time “provisional protected presence” to DREAMers eligible for DACA that would provide temporary protection from deportation and an employment authorization document. The provisional protected presence would last up to three years from the date the bill is enacted.
- To qualify for “provisional protected presence,” DREAMers would need to meet the following requirements:
- Pay a fee that covers the cost of processing the application;
- Register with the government and undergo/pass a criminal background check;
- Demonstrate that they are not a threat to public safety;
- Establish that they came to the United States at an early age, have continuously lived in the United States since June 15, 2007, and have pursued an education or military service.
- Recipients with “provisional protected presence” will lose their reprieve from deportation and employment authorization document if they commit a felony, a significant misdemeanor or any three misdemeanors at different dates.
Why We Support the BRIDGE Act
- The BRIDGE Act is a bipartisan legislative solution. Senators Lindsey Graham (R – South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D – Illinois) introduced the BRIDGE Act ( S. 128) in the Senate with 5 original co-sponsors. Representatives Mike Coffman (R – Colorado) and Luis Gutierrez (D – Illinois) introduced a companion bill (H.R. 496) in the House with 6 original co-sponsors.
- The BRIDGE Act helps American workers. The bill would allow DREAMers to continue to contribute to their communities and the economy by working legally and paying their fair share of taxes. If DACA is rescinded, the U.S. is estimated to lose 645,000 workers. Employers, many of them small business owners, will likely pass on the turnover cost of losing those workers (about $3.4 billion) to consumers and require co-workers to pick up their duties until replacements are found.
- The BRIDGE Act supports our country’s values. The BRIDGE Act provides temporary protection to DREAMers who came to the United States as children, grew up in our communities and consider themselves American to continue to contribute to the United States while the 115th Congress works to address the immigration system broadly and provide a permanent solution.
- The BRIDGE Act is a good first step. This is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. Our current immigration system no longer meets our country’s needs and in some cases is hurting our economy and the American people. Our immigration system needs to include effective border security, earned legalized status for undocumented immigrants, reforms to our existing visa system, and interior immigration enforcement that both deters illegal immigration and protects the public.