On January 12, bipartisan groups in the U.S. House and Senate introduced the BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy) Act, to shield DREAMers – (Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors) undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children – from deportation until their status can be addressed through comprehensive immigration reform. The bill was originally introduced in the 114th Congress on December 9, 2016 by a bipartisan group of four senators.
“DREAMers have so much to contribute to this country, their country, and they’ve demonstrated their commitment to the United States in countless ways – by opening businesses, becoming doctors and teachers, and serving in uniform,” said Senator Richard Durbin D-IL), one of the champions of the legislation.
The legislation, if enacted, would provide temporary relief from deportation, as well as employment authorization to individuals who are eligible for the Department of Homeland Security’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In a statement from the Association of American Universities, President Mary Sue Coleman said “We believe this bipartisan bill would help the new administration develop a humanitarian approach to this vexing issue as work continues on comprehensive immigration reform. Many of these young people are working hard to earn college degrees so that they can contribute to the only country they have known, the United States. Their hard work and devotion to improving themselves and our society represent the best of American values.”
The legislation has broad support from the faith, higher education, civil rights, and immigrant communities. Notably, many prominent education organizations, organized by the American Council on Education, sent a letter in support of the bill. Ninety-four CEOs from Illinois, Florida and Colorado, organized by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, also sent a letter in support of the legislation.