Senators Dick Durban (D-IL) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) have introduced legislation to protect from deportation over 740,000 young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
Under the Trump administration, these young people, known as Dreamers, risk losing the amnesty from deportation and work permits they were granted under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The Bridge Act seeks to protect Dreamers who were brave enough to come forward to the government under the promise that they would no longer have to fear deportation, and could legally drive and work. If the bill passes, DACA recipients would be given a provisional protected status for three years and others could still apply for DACA’s protections so long as they paid a fee, passed a background check and were considered eligible. The three year time limit is meant to force Congress to work on broader immigration reform.
The bill also seeks to protect Dreamers’ information, such as home addresses, from being used by immigration enforcement, in order to ensure that a Dreamers’ parent is not targeted for deportation using the information given by their child.
DACA was created through executive action, and Trump announced on the campaign trail that he would “immediately terminate” the program if he were elected. Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is a strong opponent of President Obama’s executive actions that allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the country. Trump has said that Sessions, who once proposed a total ban on all undocumented immigrants and was a vocal supporter of building the wall, inspired his stance on immigration.