In a Dark Time, the BRIDGE Act Stands Out
January 12, 2017
It’s now 2017 – a bright sunny year with new opportunities ahead and while I am excited for a new year I can’t help but notice the cloud of uncertainty hovering over my head. That cloud began to form when then Presidential nominee Donald Trump ran on the platform of repealing President Obama’s executive order on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
As a recipient of DACA, I have been able to work at jobs that I love (like NETWORK), obtain a driver’s license that allows me to travel, and most importantly live without the fear of deportation. Unfortunately, the few rays of sunlight that DACA has brought into my life after years of living in the shadows have been recently covered with a cloud of uncertainty and fear. Trump’s plan to repeal DACA would be unimaginable and utterly devastating not only for me but also for the roughly 800,000 individuals who have protection through DACA. Ending the program will be the beginning of a storm that will bring about harsh economic and emotional conditions for immigrant families– DACA recipients will be unable to keep their current jobs, support themselves or their families, and most significantly, once again feel the fear of deportation thick in the air.
Today, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) re-introduced their bipartisan legislation to protect the individuals who currently have or are eligible for DACA. Similar to DACA, the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act would provide temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to young undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children. Temporary protection under the BRIDGE Act would allow individuals, such as myself, to continue to work and study and be protected from deportation while Congress works on legislation to fix the broken immigration system.
The reality is that the BRIDGE Act is not a replacement for the comprehensive immigration reform that we desperately need, nor does it protect all undocumented individuals living in the United States. It won’t protect my parents from deportation nor will it protect thousands of DACA recipients’ parents. With the dark cloud of uncertainty and the fear of being separated from our families hovering over our heads, the BRIDGE Act gives us the chance for a hopeful forecast of staying in the country that we consider our home.