On Friday December 9th, a bipartisan group of senators unveiled legislation that would temporarily provide legal protections and work permits to a select group of young, undocumented immigrants for up to three years. Dubbed the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act (BRIDGE), it calls for the preservation of legal work status of the 740,000 beneficiaries of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The main sponsors of this legislation are: Dick Durban (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ). President-elect Donald Trump pledged to repeal Obama’s executive action which enacted the benefits under DACA, although recently he has softened his tone on DACA in an article in Time Magazine.
Also included in the BRIDGE Act are tougher confidentiality protections, than what the current DACA program includes. Personal information, including a home address would be banned from being used for deportation purposes, unless there was a national security concern or felony investigation. Additionally, the BRIDGE Act would also provide protections to those who are eligible, yet not applied for DACA. The protections would allow young people to continue to work and study, while also being protected from deportation, while Congress attempts to resolve the ongoing immigration reform.