Senate BRIDGE Act to Help DACA Recipients | BRIDGE Act Full Text | Updates

Senate BRIDGE Act to Help DACA Recipients | BRIDGE Act Full Text | Updates

Senate BRIDGE Act to Help DACA Recipients and New Applicants | BRIDGE Act Full Text

Senado Propone BRIDGE Act para Indocumentados que Reciben o Calificarían para DACA | Contenido BRIDGE Act

Current DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients and immigrants who might meet program eligibility received a boost in this period of uncertainty as the Senate Bridge Act was presented by  a bipartisan group of senators in order to help DACA beneficiaries. Bridge stands for Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy.

The Senate Bridge Act was presented in the Senate floor on December 9, 2016 by Democratic Senator Richard Durbin from Illinois. The other key co-sponsor is Senatory Lindsay Graham, Republican from South Carolina.

Overall, the bill has five co-sponsors:

Sen. Durbin, Richard [D-IL]
Sen. Murkowski, Lisa [R-AK]
Sen. Feinstein, Dianne [D-CA]
Sen. Flake, Jeff [R-AZ]
Sen. Schumer, Charles E. [D-NY]

The Bridge Act is intended to benefit the nearly 800,000 immigrants who have already been approved for DACA and also others who are not current recipients but who can meet the eligibility criteria.

The Senate Bridge Act is designed to offer three years of protection from deportation, which is an increase from the current two years that DACA offers to beneficiaries. DACA beneficiaries also obtain a valid work permit and their own social security number. States like California offer additional state-level benefits and protections.

The text of the Bills, S.3542 — 114th Congress (2015-2016), is available below and in this link: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/3542/text

 

Update: BRIDGE Act Reintroduced in Senate and House of Representatives Version Presented on 1/12/17

On January 12, 2017, the BRIDGE Act was reintroduced in the Senate and a counterpart version was also presented in the House of Representatives. The House version is co-sponsored by Mike Coffman (CO-06) and Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04) and a bipartisan group that also includes U.S. Representatives Jeff Denham (R-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Carlos L. Curbelo (R-FL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Judy Chu (D-CA). More information is presented in this press release by Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez: https://gutierrez.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/coffman-guti-rrez-graham-durbin-reintroduce-bridge-act-protect

 

Full Text of the BRIDGE Act (S.3542)

(source: https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/s3542/BILLS-114s3542is.xml)

114th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 3542

To provide provisional protected presence to qualified individuals who came to the United States as children.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
December 9, 2016

Mr. Graham (for himself, Mr. Durbin, Ms. Murkowski, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Flake, and Mr. Schumer) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To provide provisional protected presence to qualified individuals who came to the United States as children.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act” or the “BRIDGE Act”.

SEC. 2. PROVISIONAL PROTECTED PRESENCE FOR YOUNG INDIVIDUALS.

(a) In General.—Chapter 4 of title II of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1221 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“SEC. 244A. PROVISIONAL PROTECTED PRESENCE.

“(a) Definitions.—In this section:

“(1) DACA RECIPIENT.—The term ‘DACA recipient’ means an alien who is in deferred action status on the date of the enactment of this section pursuant to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (‘DACA’) Program announced on June 15, 2012.

“(2) FELONY.—The term ‘felony’ means a Federal, State, or local criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

“(3) MISDEMEANOR.—The term ‘misdemeanor’ means a Federal, State, or local criminal offense (excluding a significant misdemeanor) for which—

“(A) the maximum term of imprisonment is greater than five days and not greater than one year; and

“(B) the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less.

“(4) SECRETARY.—The term ‘Secretary’ means the Secretary of Homeland Security.

“(5) SIGNIFICANT MISDEMEANOR.—The term ‘significant misdemeanor’ means a Federal, State, or local criminal offense for which the maximum term of imprisonment is greater than five days and not greater than one year that—

“(A) regardless of the sentence imposed, is an offense of domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking, or driving under the influence if the State law requires, as an element of the offense, a finding of impairment or a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher; or

“(B) resulted in a sentence of time in custody of more than 90 days, excluding an offense for which the sentence was suspended.

“(6) THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY.—An alien is a ‘threat to national security’ if the alien is—

“(A) inadmissible under section 212(a)(3); or

“(B) deportable under section 237(a)(4).

“(7) THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY.—An alien is a ‘threat to public safety’ if the alien—

“(A) has been convicted of an offense for which an element was participation in a criminal street gang (as defined in section 521(a) of title 18, United States Code); or

“(B) has engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise (as defined in section 408(c) of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 848(c))).

“(b) Authorization.—The Secretary—

“(1) shall grant provisional protected presence to an alien who files an application demonstrating that he or she meets the eligibility criteria under subsection (c) and pays the appropriate application fee;

“(2) may not remove such alien from the United States during the period in which such provisional protected presence is in effect unless such status is rescinded pursuant to subsection (g); and

“(3) shall provide such alien with employment authorization.

“(c) Eligibility Criteria.—An alien is eligible for provisional protected presence under this section and employment authorization if the alien—

“(1) was born after June 15, 1981;

“(2) entered the United States before attaining 16 years of age;

“(3) continuously resided in the United States between June 15, 2007, and the date on which the alien files an application under this section;

“(4) was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and on the date on which the alien files an application under this section;

“(5) was unlawfully present in the United States on June 15, 2012;

“(6) on the date on which the alien files an application for provisional protected presence—

“(A) is enrolled in school or in an education program assisting students in obtaining a regular high school diploma or its recognized equivalent under State law, or in passing a general educational development exam or other State-authorized exam;

“(B) has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school;

“(C) has obtained a general educational development certificate; or

“(D) is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;

“(7) has not been convicted of—

“(A) a felony;

“(B) a significant misdemeanor; or

“(C) three or more misdemeanors not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct; and

“(8) does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or a threat to public safety.

“(d) Duration Of Provisional Protected Presence And Employment Authorization.—Provisional protected presence and the employment authorization provided under this section shall be effective until the date that is three years after the date of the enactment of this section.

“(e) Status During Period Of Provisional Protected Presence.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—An alien granted provisional protected presence is not considered to be unlawfully present in the United States during the period beginning on the date such status is granted and ending on the date described in subsection (d).

“(2) STATUS OUTSIDE PERIOD.—The granting of provisional protected presence under this section does not excuse previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.

“(f) Application.—

“(1) AGE REQUIREMENT.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—An alien who has never been in removal proceedings, or whose proceedings have been terminated before making a request for provisional protected presence, shall be at least 15 years old on the date on which the alien submits an application under this section.

“(B) EXCEPTION.—The age requirement set forth in subparagraph (A) shall not apply to an alien who, on the date on which the alien applies for provisional protected status, is in removal proceedings, has a final removal order, or has a voluntary departure order, and who is not in immigration detention.

“(2) APPLICATION FEE.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary may require aliens applying for provisional protected presence under this section to pay a reasonable fee that is commensurate with the cost of processing the application.

“(B) EXEMPTION.—An applicant may be exempted from paying the fee required under subparagraph (A) if the alien—

“(i)(I) is younger than 18 years of age;

“(II) received total income during the 12-month period immediately preceding the date on which the alien files an application under this section that is less than 150 percent of the United States poverty level; and

“(III) is in foster care or otherwise lacking any parental or other familial support;

“(ii) is younger than 18 years of age and is homeless;

“(iii)(I) cannot care for himself or herself because of a serious, chronic disability; and

“(II) received total income during the 12-month period immediately preceding the date on which the alien files an application under this section that is less than 150 percent of the United States poverty level; or

“(iv)(I) as of the date on which the alien files an application under this section, has accumulated $10,000 or more in debt in the past 12 months as a result of unreimbursed medical expenses incurred by the alien or an immediate family member of the alien; and

“(II) received total income during the 12-month period immediately preceding the date on which the alien files an application under this section that is less than 150 percent of the United States poverty level.

“(3) REMOVAL STAYED WHILE APPLICATION PENDING.—The Secretary may not remove an alien from the United States who appears prima facie eligible for provisional protected presence while the alien’s application for provisional protected presence is pending.

“(4) SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES.—An alien who is in removal proceedings, is the subject of a final removal order, or is the subject of a voluntary departure order may apply for provisional protected presence under this section if the alien—

“(A) appears prima facie eligible for provisional protected presence; and

“(B) is not in immigration detention.

“(5) ALIENS IN IMMIGRATION DETENTION.—The Secretary shall provide any alien in immigration detention who appears prima facie eligible for provisional protected presence, upon request, with a reasonable opportunity to apply for provisional protected presence under this section.

“(6) CONFIDENTIALITY.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall protect information provided in applications for provisional protected presence under this section and in requests for consideration of DACA from disclosure to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings.

“(B) REFERRALS PROHIBITED.—The Secretary may not refer individuals whose cases have been deferred pursuant to DACA or who have been granted provisional protected presence under this section to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“(C) LIMITED EXCEPTION.—The information submitted in applications for provisional protected presence under this section and in requests for consideration of DACA may be shared with national security and law enforcement agencies—

“(i) for assistance in the consideration of the application for provisional protected presence;

“(ii) to identify or prevent fraudulent claims;

“(iii) for national security purposes; and

“(iv) for the investigation or prosecution of any felony not related to immigration status.

“(g) Rescission Of Provisional Protected Presence.—The Secretary may not rescind an alien’s provisional protected presence or employment authorization granted under this section unless the Secretary determines that the alien—

“(1) has been convicted of—

“(A) a felony;

“(B) a significant misdemeanor; or

“(C) three or more misdemeanors not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct;

“(2) poses a threat to national security or a threat to public safety;

“(3) has traveled outside of the United States without authorization from the Secretary; or

“(4) has ceased to continuously reside in the United States.

“(h) Treatment Of Brief, Casual, And Innocent Departures And Certain Other Absences.—For purposes of subsections (c)(3) and (g)(4), an alien shall not be considered to have failed to continuously reside in the United States due to—

“(1) brief, casual, and innocent absences from the United States during the period beginning on June 15, 2007, and ending on August 14, 2012; or

“(2) travel outside of the United States on or after August 15, 2012, if such travel was authorized by the Secretary.

“(i) Effect Of Deferred Action Under Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals Program.—

“(1) PROVISIONAL PROTECTED PRESENCE.—A DACA recipient is deemed to have provisional protected presence under this section through the expiration date of the alien’s deferred action status, as specified by the Secretary in conjunction with the approval of the alien’s DACA application.

“(2) EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION.—If a DACA recipient has been granted employment authorization by the Secretary in addition to deferred action, the employment authorization shall continue through the expiration date of the alien’s deferred action status, as specified by the Secretary in conjunction with the approval of the alien’s DACA application.

“(3) EFFECT OF APPLICATION.—If a DACA recipient files an application for provisional protected presence under this section not later than the expiration date of the alien’s deferred action status, as specified by the Secretary in conjunction with the approval of the alien’s DACA application, the alien’s provisional protected presence, and any employment authorization, shall remain in effect pending the adjudication of such application.”.

(b) Clerical Amendment.—The table of contents for the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 note) is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 244 the following:


“Sec. 244A. Provisional protected presence.”.

Video: Senator Richard Durbin Introduces the Senate BRIDGE Act

Below is the full transcript of the speech by Senator Durbin when he presented the Senate BRIDGE Act:

By Mr. GRAHAM (for himself, Mr. Durbin, Ms. Murkowski, Mrs.
Feinstein, Mr. Flake, and Mr. Schumer):

S. 3542. A bill to provide provisional protected presence to
qualified individuals who came to the United States as children; to the
Committee on the Judiciary.

Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, 6 years ago, I joined with Senator Dick
Lugar in a bipartisan request of President Obama to do something to
protect the DREAMers–those young kids brought to America as babies and
infants and toddlers and teenagers who were undocumented, living in
America, and had no place other than America to call home. We wanted
these DREAMers to have a chance, not to be deported–a chance to go to
school, a chance to work, a chance to prove themselves and to become
part of the future of America.

President Obama created the DACA Program by Executive order, and
despite the political controversy of that decision on the other side of
the aisle, the fact is it was a lifeline for up to 800,000 who have now
come forward. They paid their filing fee of several hundred dollars,
they have gone through a criminal background check to make sure there
is nothing in their background to disqualify them from staying in the
United States, and they have been given a temporary approval to stay
here without fear of deportation and to work. So they have gone on to
colleges and medical schools and law schools. They have taken important
jobs. They have volunteered to serve in our military. They are proving
that they want to be part of America’s future.

Now, if that Executive order, DACA, is eliminated, what happens to
them? That has been a concern and a fear, not just on this side of the
aisle but on the other side as well.

I am happy to report that Senator Lindsey Graham has stepped forward.
We are working together on a measure we call the BRIDGE Act, which we
are going to introduce today. This is an effort by Senator Graham and
myself to have a bipartisan answer to the question about what happens
to these 800,000 and others like them while we debate the future of
immigration. I think what we are taking is a reasonable step forward.
As Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House said the other day, there is no
need to disrupt their lives. President-Elect Donald Trump said recently
in Time Magazine:

We’re going to work out something that’s going to make
people happy and proud.

Speaking of the DREAMers, President-Elect Trump said:

They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked
here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students.
Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land
because they don’t know what’s going to happen.

So Senator Graham and I are proposing this legislation today, and we
invite Members to join us in supporting it. It is simple. It would
provide protection from deportation and legal authority to continue
working and studying to the people who are eligible for DACA.

The BRIDGE Act has a new term–not DACA–but “provisional protected
presence.” If you have DACA now, you would receive provisional
protected status until your DACA expires, and you can apply for an
extension. If you don’t have DACA protection now but you are eligible,
you can also apply for this provisional protected presence.

Applicants would be required to pay a reasonable fee, be subject to
criminal background checks, and meet the same eligibility criteria that
currently applied to DACA. This legal status would be good for 3 years.

DACA is only good for 2 years but is renewable. The status we are
creating would be good for 3 years after the BRIDGE Act becomes law.

I believe this legislation will attract broad support from both sides
of the aisle. But let me be clear. The BRIDGE Act that we are
introducing today is no substitute for broader legislation to fix our
broken immigration system. This bill should not be tied to other
unrelated measures. Let’s take care of these young people who are in
doubt about tomorrow before we debate the larger and equally important
question about immigration reform, which has so many facets.

Senator Graham and I were two Members of the bipartisan Gang of 8,
Republicans and Democrats who authored comprehensive immigration reform
legislation that passed the Senate. We both believe that Congress must
consider legislation to deal with all aspects of the immigration law.
In particular, I strongly believe personally–personally, I believe–
that we need a path to citizenship not just for DREAMers but for their
parents and other undocumented immigrants who are living in the shadows
but, by every measure, should be given a chance to prove themselves in America.

We need to pass the BRIDGE Act quickly to ensure that DREAMers who
came forward to register for DACA do not lose critical work permits.

There are 28 medical students at the Loyola University Stritch School
of Medicine in Chicago. They are DACA-eligible. They competed
nationally. They weren’t given any specific slots. They were accepted
to medical school. If they lose their work permit, they have to drop
out of medical soon, and they can’t do their clinical work, which is
important to medical education. So let’s not lose them and others who
can serve our country in the future.

Over the years, I have come to the floor to tell stories about these
DREAMers, and I would like to tell one today about Javier Cuan-
Martinez. He came at the age of 4 from Mexico with his parents. He was
4 years old. He went to elementary school in Texas. He moved to
Temecula, CA. He was an excellent student involved in many activities.
He was a member of the National Honor Society, and he was named
Riverside County’s Student of the Month. He received an award from the
College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program, given to only
5,000 of the 250,000 Hispanic students who took the test. He was a
member of the Math Club and a drum major in the school’s marching band.
He volunteered in his town’s soup kitchen for the homeless and received
the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

He didn’t even know he was undocumented until he was applying for
college and he learned that he was ineligible for any Federal financial
assistance to go to school.

Thanks to his academic achievements, this young man was accepted at
Harvard University. He is now a sophomore majoring in computer science,
a member of the Harvard Computer Society and Harvard’s marching band.
Thanks to DACA, he is supporting himself by working as a web developer.
He sent me a letter, and here is what he said:

DACA doesn’t give me an advantage; rather, it gives me the
opportunity to create my own future on the same grounds as
any other student. I would like to be judged upon my
qualities as a person rather than what papers I happen to
have in my hand. I hope to be a computer programmer and begin
earning my own living as a contributing member of America’s
society.

Consider this. Every year, the United States of America imports guest
workers to do computer programming on H-1B visas. So does it make any
sense to deport this young man who could fill one of those important
jobs, who was educated and raised in the United States and wants to
stay and be a part of our future?

Javier and other DREAMers have so much to give America. But if DACA
is eliminated, he will lose his legal status and be deported back to
Mexico–a country he barely knows and left when he was 4 years old.
Will America be stronger if we deport him? I don’t think so.

The answer is obvious. I hope President-Elect Trump will understand
this and will continue the DACA Program or encourage the passage of the
BRIDGE Program, as we move forward. If he decides to end DACA, the
President-elect can then turn to Congress and ask us to do our part by
passing the BRIDGE Act.

Transcript source: https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2016/12/09/senate-section/article/S7033-1

Video Source: https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4636220/sen-durbin-introduces-bridge-act

 

Senator Durbin Press Release on BRIDGE Act

Senator Richard Durbin’s website has the following statement about the Senate Bridge Act:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke on the Senate floor about new bipartisan legislation to ensure that the young undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers remain shielded from deportation under a Trump Administration. Like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (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 immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

“If DACA is eliminated, what happens to [DREAMers]? That’s been a concern and a fear, not just on this side of aisle, but on the other side as well. I’m happy to report that Senator Lindsey Graham has stepped forward. We’re working together on a measure we call the BRIDGE Act, which we are going to introduce today,” said Senator Durbin. “This is an effort by Senator Graham and myself to have a bipartisan answer to the question about what happens to these 800,000 and others like them while we debate the future of immigration.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available for TV Stations using FTP in high definition and standard definition.

The BRIDGE Act would provide “provisional protected presence” and employment authorization to DACA-eligible individuals. A current DACA recipient would receive provisional protected status until the expiration date of his or her DACA status and could apply for provisional protected presence prior to this expiration. An individual who is not a DACA recipient but who is eligible for DACA could also apply for provisional protected presence. 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 came to the United States as minors, grew up in this country, have pursued an education, have not committed any serious crimes, and do not pose a threat to our country.

Senator Durbin has been a leading voice in the fight to protect young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. In April 2010, he was the first member of Congress to call for the establishment of DACA. Durbin has shared the stories of more than 75 DREAMers on the Senate floor since he introduced the original DREAM Act fifteen years ago. He was also a member of the “Gang of 8” Republicans and Democrats who authored comprehensive immigration legislation that passed the Senate in 2013.