On Friday, December 9, 2016, a group of bipartisan Senators introduced the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act. The BRIDGE Act aims to temporarily protect all individuals who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The intent of the bill is similar to the DACA program, however the bill expands the eligibility to younger undocumented individuals who are not currently eligible for the DACA program. Should the bill pass, individuals who are eligible for DACA will be able to apply for a “provisional protected presence” which temporarily provides relief from deportation, like the DACA Program. Individuals will also receive work authorization after a series of strict background checks and fee. Unfortunately, the extension would only be eligible for three (3) years. This was done purposefully by the writers of the bill in hopes of forcing Congress to work on some sort of immigration reform.
The bill also includes stronger confidentiality safeguards barring the use of personal information for deportation purposes, unless the matter involves national security concerns or a criminal felony investigation. There has been growing concern and fear as to what is going to happen to DACA recipients once President-elect Trump takes office, including the use of DACA recipients’ personal information for deportation of DACA recipients and parents of DACA beneficiaries. He has promised during his campaign to repeal all of President Obama’s executive actions, including DACA. While recent statements from the President-elect have indicated that he would like to find a solution for DREAMers, it is unclear and uncertain as to what actions he might take.
The group will re-introduce the bill in the new session of 2017 with more support from both Democrat and Republican parties. We will continue to monitor this legislation and provide any further updates about the DACA program as they arise.
In the interim, if you have any questions about DACA, please contact Attorney Nicole Fink.