Senate Introduces BRIDGE Act to Protect DACA Recipients

On December 9, 2016, Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Dick Durbin of Illinois introduced bipartisan Senate Bill S.3542. The purpose of the bill was to "protect undocumented individuals should the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program be discontinued." The legislation has been named the "Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow out Economy (BRIDGE) Act." It would give young undocumented individuals, who were brought to the U.S. as children, temporary relief from removal.

What is DACA?

First, DACA was implemented via executive order by the Obama Administration. DACA provides temporary protection from removal and work authorization to young students and veterans who grew up in the U.S. Also, they must register with the government, pay a fee, and pass a criminal background check to be eligible. Thus far, more than 74,000 individuals have received DACA.

BRIDGE Act Key Points

  • Current recipients would receive provisional protected status until DACA expiration.
  • An individual who is not a DACA recipient, but who is eligible, could also apply for the provisional protected status.
  • A person's provisional protected status and work authorization would be subject to revocation by the Department of Homeland Security if the recipient is no longer eligible.
  • Finally, the provisional protected status and work authorization would be provided for three years after the date of enactment of the legislation.

Interestingly, President-elect Donald Trump has sent mixed messages about his feelings toward DACA. Senator Durbin said that he wanted to "reach out to the incoming administration and urge them if they take any action on DACA try to do it with this BRIDGE, to join us in passing this BRIDGE so we don't have the disruption." Also, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that Republicans "would not pull the rug out from under" DACA recipients.

The full bill and updates can be found here.daca