Civil Rights / Immigration RRT

Team Lead: Diana Topakian –  dtopakian@gmail.com
Civil Rights/Immigration Rapid Response Teams

What is the BRIDGE Act? 

The BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow our Economy) Act was recently introduced in Congress, S.128 and H.496, as a bi-partisan effort to sustain the temporary relief from deportation and employment eligibility offered to youth through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

What would the BRIDGE Act do?

The bridge act would make it possible for people who meet certain requirements to apply for “provisional protected presence” and work authorization for a three-year period ending three years after the bill becomes law. People who have been approved for DACA would be deemed to have provisional protected presence through the expiration of their DACA status, and would then be eligible to apply for provisional protected presence and work authorization under the BRIDGE Act.

Why is the BRIDGE Act receiving bi-partisan sponsorship in Congress?

Members of both the Democratic and Republican parties recognize the positive impact that DACA has had on the lives of its recipients as well as on the society and economy as a whole. DACA has been proven to increase its recipients’ wages which leads to higher tax revenue and economic growth. Wage increases also allow recipients to invest in big ticket items such as cars and houses which is additional revenue for the states from sales and property taxes. There is a higher rate of tax compliance among DACA recipients, and more money paid into state and federal benefit programs most of which DACA recipients can’t receive. The DACA program also led to increased health coverage among recipients which lowers the cost of uncompensated care. The bill sponsors recognize that DACA recipients have been able to pursue educational opportunities that were previously unavailable to them. Their education leads them to work in education and health services, the nonprofit sector, various business services, or to create new jobs in their communities by becoming entrepreneurs. It’s clear that DACA recipients are contributing across all sectors of the economy.

Who would be eligible for protection under the BRIDGE Act?

To be eligible, a person would have to:

  • Be born after June 15, 1981
  • Have come to the S. before their 16th birthday
  • Have continuously resided in the S. from June 15, 2007 through the date of application
  • Have been physically present in the S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of filing an application under the BRIDGE Act
  • Be in school or in an educational program aimed at obtaining a high school diploma or GED, or have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school or a GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or U.S. Armed Forces at the time of application
  • Not be convicted of a felony offense, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanor offences, or have been deemed a threat to national security or public safety

What can I do?

Ask your Senators and Representative to support and co-sponsor the BRIDGE Act (S.128 and H. 496), and join the Citizen’s Immigration & Refugee Action Committee. CIRAC meets on Sundays at 4:00 pm at Lancaster Theological Seminary, Richards Hall, Room 109. Please contact Cheryl DeMarco at cheryl.demarco@gmail.com for information on upcoming events. CIRAC is providing postcards designed by CWS on www.lancasterdems.com website to print and send to your Senators and Representative.