1. Update
  2. Immigrants & Refugees

BRIDGE Act Crucial Step for Protecting Dreamers

By Hannah Graf Evans, December 12, 2016

This bi-partisan legislation protects certain immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

On December 9th, Senator Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Graham (R-SC) introduced the BRIDGE Act, bi-partisan legislation that seeks to protect certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, often referred to as Dreamers, from detention and deportation. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) are original co-sponsors of S. 3542.

President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program when he assumes office. The program – passed by executive action – was put in place by President Obama in 2012 so that young adults who were brought to the United States as children could go to college, obtain lawful employment, pay taxes, and support their families while Congress debated a permanent solution through comprehensive immigration reform.

FCNL celebrates DACA as an instrumental tool to ensure young people who are already part of the fabric of our society have the opportunity to work and pursue their dreams. President-elect Trump could take this essential protection away from almost 800,000 young people on his first day in office. Congress must act immediately to protect Dreamers by passing the BRIDGE Act, which would allow those who are currently protected under DACA and those who are eligible for DACA to apply for a three-year deferment of deportation and continued work authorization. We expect Congress to then turn towards developing compassionate immigration reform that would permanently grant Dreamers - and a wider range of immigrants – citizenship.

DACA recipients benefit their communities each day. While immigrant communities and those that are working for immigrant justice have a long road ahead, we are heartened that a bi-partisan initiative to protect the right for DACA recipients to pursue their dreams is in the works.

We encourage everyone to reach out to your members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor the BRIDGE Act, a tangible step in the right direction towards broader initiatives that protect our immigrant and refugee neighbors.

Write to your Senators and ask them to support the BRIDGE Act.

Hannah Graf Evans

  • Former Legislative Representative, Immigration and Refugee Policy

Hannah Graf Evans led FCNL's lobbying for compassionate immigration and refugee policies, with a particular focus on detention practices, the rights of border communities, and protection of vulnerable communities. Hannah served as co-chair of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition steering committee for three years.