The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), recently praised efforts by Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-NC) to introduce legislation that would provide provisional protected status for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. DACA allows unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children—also known as “DREAMers”—who have completed or are enrolled in high school, and who have not committed serious offenses, to obtain temporary protection from deportation, as well as a work permit, renewable every two years. To date, approximately 740,000 DREAMers have received temporary deportation relief under DACA.
“We applaud the commitment of both Senators Durbin and Graham to give relief to thousands of deserving young people who have been so deeply affected by the uncertainty of how a new presidential administration would deal with the issue of their immigration status. For most, the thought of having to leave the only country they really know, their jobs, their friends, and give up on their dreams of successful careers is truly paralyzing and devastating. For our country, giving up their talent and the contributions they are already making would be equally devastating,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.
Under the proposed Senate bill, known as the Bridge Act, applicants would pay a fee, be subject to criminal background checks, and have to meet the same eligibility requirements that exist under the current standards established through executive action under President Obama. Those who are current DACA recipients would get provisional status and the opportunity to apply for an extension once that status expires. Those who do not have DACA status, but are currently eligible, can also apply.
“We are grateful for this bipartisan leadership from both senators and hope that others will join the effort, but we hope that President-elect Donald Trump will avoid the need for legislation by simply extending the Department of Homeland Security’s DACA program,” Murguía added.