A bipartisan group of senators in this lame duck session of Congress has introduced legislation to protect undocumented young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children – a group whose status may be threatened if President-elect Trump cancels President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) are promoting the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy, or the BRIDGE Act. The proposed legislation would protect deportation reprieves and at least 740,000 young immigrants who received work permits as low priority removal candidates with no criminal record, under the Obama administration, allowing DACA recipients to keep those benefits for three additional years. Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are also supporting the bill. It is unclear how much support the bill will have in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Many welcomed the introduction of the bill, noting that the United States has invested in educating young immigrants who were brought here as children, and three-quarters of a million of them have come forward to pursue higher education and become tax-paying members of society.
The young immigrants who qualify for Obama’s deferred action initiative are often referred to as DREAMers because they constitute most of the individuals who meet the requirements of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a legislative proposal that has so far failed to pass Congress.