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Senators Push for Bill Protecting Young Immigrants from Deportation

student-1647136_640-300x214After President-elect Donald Trump said in an interview with Time Magazine that he would “work something out” for DREAMers, two U.S. senators are seeking to pass a bill that would protect young immigrants, who entered or stayed in the country outside of the law, from deportation.

Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, have crossed party lines to push legislation that would effectively protect young undocumented immigrants from removal should Donald Trump repeal executive action before Congress can deliberate on what to with the issue of immigration. The stopgap measure, however, would only last until Congress can arrive at a decision.

The bill, dubbed the BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream And Grow Our Economy) Act, will be re-submitted to Congress when it convenes in 2017. So far, the bill has generated the support of Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Dianne Feinstein, D-California.

At present, more than 740,000 young undocumented immigrants are staying and working in the United States under the protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an executive action implemented under the Obama administration in 2012.

But on the campaign trail, Trump has promised that he would repeal DACA immediately upon taking office.

As a result, thousands of young immigrations protected by DACA fear for their status and wonder what the repeal of the action could mean for them. The concerns are hard to downplay, as part of seeking DACA protection meant having to turn over their personal information to the federal government, making them an easy target under a Trump administration.

But Senator Durbin is hopeful that Trump’s recent comments in the Time magazine interview would be a good sign for DREAMers.

“We want 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,” he said.

If enacted into law, BRIDGE would create a 3-year program that provides temporary deportation protection to people eligible for DACA, allowing them to continue working. The criteria for eligibility for BRIDGE protection would be the same as the eligibility for DACA. Undocumented immigrants who have not sought DACA protection can also apply for BRIDGE status, with applicants granted deportation protection until the processing of their application.

For more information on BRIDGE and its benefits for undocumented immigrants in Texas, be sure to schedule a consultation with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm today. Contact our offices at (512) 215.5225 to speak with an immigration law attorney.