In December, Senators Dick Durbin (D) and Lindsey Graham (R) introduced legislation to protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation under President-elect Donald Trump. The Bridge Act is a bipartisan bill that would maintain the protections set under Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Since the recent presidential election, many DACA recipients and supporters have expressed concern over Trump's threat to end the DACA program. If enacted, the Bridge Act would ensure that current recipients maintain "provisional protected presence" until their DACA's expiration date. It would also make it possible for other immigrants who meet specific requirements to apply for and receive the same protection.
Because the Obama administration created DACA through an executive action, it is entirely possible for the Trump administration to end it abruptly without approval from Congress. The Bridge Act, on the other hand, is a proposed law that was introduced by members of Congress. If passed, Trump would not be able to repeal the law without approval from Congress. In other words, the Bridge Act, while virtually the same as DACA, would ultimately provide more protection to its applicants.
The bill has been introduced into the U.S. Senate, but to become law, it must be approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and then signed by the president.
Because the Bridge Act would only last for three years after enactment and because it does not include every type of immigrant, Durbin is continuing to push for broader immigration reform.
"We still have an important job in comprehensive immigration reform," said Durbin, "but it would be disastrous and just wrong to say that we are going to ignore what's going to happen in the lives of these DACA individuals."
Currently, the bill has three additional co-sponsors - Senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Jeff Flake (R), and Dianne Feinstein (D). According to Durbin, there are a number of Democrats who are interested in joining; however, they are hoping to add sponsors in pairs (one Democrat and one Republican) to keep the bill bi-partisan.
Right now, unauthorized immigrants make up 5.1% of the U.S. labor force, and both immigrants and immigration lawyers are uncertain about the future. If you have questions or concerns about your immigration status or the status of a loved one, consult an immigration lawyer today. Contact the immigration attorney Virginia residents trust - John Elledge and Associates.