Taking action in support of immigrant issues

Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy
(BRIDGE) Act

The BRIDGE Act offers a temporary bipartisan legislative solution to protect DACA youth. The BRIDGE Act is a legislative effort which would protect DACA youth by providing them with temporary relief from deportation for up to three years. It is intended to serve as a stop-gap measure while Congress seeks a permanent solution to reform our broken immigration system.

DACA youth enrich America, and they should be allowed to continue to reach their full professional potential. There are more than 740,000 young people who have benefitted from DACA. They are contributors to our economy, academic standouts in our universities, veterans of our military, and leaders in our parishes. The BRIDGE Act is a bipartisan measure that aims to ensure that DACA youth are able to finish their education and continue to contribute to our nation and communities.

We have a moral obligation to shield DACA youth from deportation and keep their families together. As Catholics, we believe in protecting the dignity of every human being, especially that of our children. The Catholic Bishops have long supported DACA youth and their families. These young people entered the U.S. as children and know America as their only home. They complied with our government in good faith - coming forward and providing personal information, submitting to a background check, and paying a fee. The BRIDGE Act would help to protect DACA youth from deportation and prevent devastating family separation.

The BRIDGE Act makes financial sense. Ending work authorization for DACA recipients could cause businesses and employers to incur unnecessary turnover costs of $3.4 billion and could cause far-reaching unemployment, leading to the immediate job loss of 645,145 DACA recipients currently employed by businesses in the United States. Additionally, ending DACA could reduce Social Security and Medicare tax contributions by DACA employees and employers by $24.6 billion over a decade, weakening the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.

Text of USCCB Letter in Support of the BRIDGE Act

In the present situation of transition there is the possibility that the new administration will remove the protection of DACA for the “Dreamers” undocumented immigrants to the United States who entered the country as minors.

On January 23rd, USCCB in partnership with Catholic Charities USA sent a letter of support to US senators for S.128, the BRIDGE Act (Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream of Growing Our Economy). The BRIDGE Act is a bipartisan initiative to protect DACA youth.  Take action: http://justiceforimmigrants.org/category/action-alerts

Peter Ruggere MM, Co-chair AUSCP Migration Working Group

Dear Senator,

On behalf of the Committee on Migration of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB/COM) and Catholic Charities USA we write in support of S. 128 the “Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act.” This bipartisan legislation was recently introduced in the 115th Congress by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL), and we ask that you consider co-sponsoring this important measure.

As you may know, the BRIDGE Act would provide temporary relief from deportation and ensure employment authorization to individuals who are eligible for the Department of Homeland Security’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It would accomplish this by providing DACA-eligible individuals with “provisional protected presence” and employment authorization. Applicants would be required to pay a reasonable fee, be subject to criminal background checks, and meet a number of eligibility criteria indicating that they: (1) came to the United States as minors; (2) grew up in this country; (3) have pursued an education or have served in the military; (4) have not committed any serious crimes; and (5) do not pose a threat to our country. Temporary protection under the BRIDGE Act would ensure that these young people can continue to work and study and be protected from deportation while Congress debates broader legislation to fix our broken immigration system.

There are more than 750,000 young people who have received and benefitted from DACA. They are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes and communities. As Catholics, we have long supported DACA youth and their families as we believe in protecting the dignity of every human being, especially that of our children. These young people entered the U.S. as children and know America as their only home.

While we endorse the BRIDGE Act and support DACA youth, we note that DACA and the provisional protected presence status in the measure are temporary substitutes for larger legislative reform of our immigration laws that our country so desperately needs. We vow to work with Congress and the new Administration to reform our immigration system in a humane and common-sense manner.

Enactment of the BRIDGE Act/S. 128 would help ensure that these individuals, who were brought to the United States as children and are contributing so much to our nation, can continue to live their lives free of the anxiety that they could be deported at any time to a country they do not know and separated from their families.

Sincerely,

Most Reverend Joe Vásquez                                Sr. Donna Markham, OP, PhD

Chairman, Committee on Migration                    President and CEO

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops                 Catholic Charities USA