In a shocking turn of events last week, two senators introduced a *bipartisan* bill to protect the status of young undocumented individuals called the BRIDGE act.
When Congress failed to pass immigration reform, Obama used his executive powers to create a special class of undocumented immigrants called “DREAMers.” These are individuals who were brought to the United States as children, have grown up here, attended our schools and, in some cases, even served in our military. Under his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, these DREAMers are eligible for a two-year period of protection from deportation.
If it wasn’t clear from Trump’s plan to build a giant wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, he isn’t particularly sympathetic to the plight of undocumented immigrants in the United States, and DREAMers are no exception.
With one signature, Trump could:
- Revoke temporary status from 750,000 young, undocumented students and workers in the United States who have come forward under the DACA initiative.
- Have access to all of their identifiable information that could be used to deport these young adults and their families.
But the bipartisan support that the BRIDGE act is getting is a promising sign that both Republicans and Democrats recognize that pulling the rug out from underneath hundreds of thousands of immigrants would be…bad.
So here’s what the bill does: it would extend temporary protection for DREAMers for an additional three years and impose tougher confidentiality protections so that their information could not be used to deport them or their families.
It does not offer them a path to citizenship and it would not take the place of comprehensive immigration reform. It would, however, protect a group of individuals who are citizens in all but legal status. If this is something that is important to you, let your senators know!
A special note to my fellow New Jerseyans:
It is still unclear whether or not our Senator Bob Menendez (D) supports this bill. He has publicly expressed concerns about the limited scope of this kind of bill in that it only applies to DREAMers. So this could be a real opportunity to let him know what his constituents think!