On Friday, December 9, 2016, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced the "Bar Removal of Immigrants who Dream and Grow the Economy," or BRIDGE Act (S. 3542), which would provide DACA-eligible individuals the chance to apply for "provisional protected presence," or temporary protection from deportation similar to that provided by DACA. Employment authorization would be granted after recipients pay a fee and pass stringent background checks.
We should urge our lawmakers to support the BRIDGE Act and similar bills that protect DREAMers, who are a vital part of our communities and economy and who would be vulnerable to deportation if President-elect Trump rescinds the DACA program. Studies have shown that revoking DACA for the hundreds of thousands of current grantees would cost America more than $430 billion over ten years.
Protecting the DACA-eligible population should not come as a trade-off for adding even more enforcement measures. For that reason we should oppose the SAFE Act introduced by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) which pairs the language of the BRIDGE Act with harsh mandatory detention and rapid 90-day removal requirements for certain people. While purporting to focus on those who are unlawfully present with serious criminal backgrounds, the SAFE Act mandates detention even for people accused of minor crimes and those completely exonerated of crimes.