Senators Dick Durban (Dem.- Illinois) and Lindsey Graham (Rep.- South Carolina) have introduced legislation titled “The Bridge Act” to allow people who have received work authorization through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) an extension of their status for a three-year period. DACA is a program initiated by President Obama in 2012 creating work authorization for certain undocumented persons who came to the United States as children. DACA was created by Executive Action and President -Elect Trump has promised to repeal all of President Obama’s Executive Action programs on the day he takes office, eliminating DACA and leaving DACA recipients in a vicarious position. DACA provided more than 730,000 undocumented aliens with temporary work authorization and deferred action from deportation and was renewable every two years. The Bridge Act would make it possible for DACA recipients and others that qualify under DACA eligibility “provisional protected presence” and work authorization for three years. The Bridge Act also imposes restrictions on the sharing of information from DACA applicants with USCIS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB). The bill has bi-partisan support in the senate, however we don’t know yet whether it will pass both houses and become law.
The Bridge Act will have the same criteria as the DACA program. Like the DACA program, The Bridge Act does not grant legal status or a path to a green card. It merely provisionally protects qualified applicants from deportation and allows them temporary work status. Since the new administration’s immigration policies are uncertain, be sure to consult a qualified immigration lawyer before you file a DACA application.