BY ISN STAFF | January 12, 2017
WASHINGTON — Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Law School, joined Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today in reintroducing bipartisan legislation to protect undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children should the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program be discontinued under by the Trump Administration. The Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act, which was first introduced in the Senate late last year, would provide temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to undocumented youth. U.S. Representatives Mike Coffman (CO-06) and Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04) will introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“For over a decade, I’ve come to the Senate floor to share with my colleagues and the American people the stories of talented young undocumented immigrants, who have overcome the odds to give back to the only country they call home. Since the establishment of DACA, we’ve witnessed them realize their full potential – by opening businesses, becoming doctors and teachers, and serving our country in uniform. We cannot squander that talent and dedication and send them back to countries they barely know,” said Senator Durbin. “The BRIDGE Act is an opportunity for supporters and critics of DACA to come together and address a compelling humanitarian issue on a bipartisan basis. I’m honored to work with Senator Graham, Congressmen Coffman and Gutiérrez, and other colleagues to ensure that DREAMers are protected from deportation until Congress is able to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
Senator Durbin has regularly shared the stories of undocumented students and graduates of Jesuit colleges and universities on the Senate Floor. In December 2016 he shared the story of Luis Gonzalez, a sophomore American Studies major at Durbin’s alma mater, Georgetown University, who has benefited from DACA.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), a graduate of Georgetown University and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a graduate of Santa Clara University Law School, are original cosponsors of the respective Senate and House versions of the BRIDGE Act.
The BRIDGE Act has broad support from the faith, business, higher-education, civil rights, and immigrant communities. This week, 88 business leaders from around the country sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump and House and Senate leadership asking them to support the BRIDGE Act.
Jesuit college and university leaders issued a public statement in support of undocumented students in late-November. “Our communities are immeasurably enriched by the presence, intelligence, and committed contributions of undocumented students, as well as of faculty and staff of every color and from every faith tradition,” said presidents representing 27 of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities. Coordinated by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the statement was one of many outreaches to the public and elected officials calling for the protection of undocumented students and the retention of the DACA program.