Issued December 09, 2016
WASHINGTON— SEIU Executive Vice President Rocio Sáenz issued the following statement after Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Graham (R-SC) announced the introduction of new bipartisan legislation, the "BRIDGE Act," intended to protect DACA beneficiaries from being thrown back into the deportation cue:
"We are grateful to Senators Durbin and Graham for their efforts to protect the nearly 800,000 DACA beneficiaries who otherwise are at grave risk of losing work authorization and being once again subject to deportation to countries they haven't known since they were children. These young people have been in the legal workforce for as many as four years and are productive members of their communities: they're teachers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and a vital part of our society and our country. They have paid their dues and passed a criminal background check and it would be cruel to them -- and painful to their employers, teachers, and friends -- to return them back in the shadows of our society.
The Graham-Durbin BRIDGE Act would allow DACA beneficiaries to get on with their lives, addressing -- at least temporarily -- one of the most urgent concerns about the president elect's anti-immigrant anti-worker agenda. Obviously, its introduction is only the first step among many before it can become law. And equally obviously, it only addresses a small portion of the damage that Trump seems likely to inflict. It doesn't address the fears of other long-time resident immigrants including the parents of U.S. citizen children and DACA beneficiaries. It doesn't address the expected rise of aggressive enforcement, racial and religious profiling, and due process violations. We will not rest until we achieve the more just immigration system that our nation badly needs.
In the meantime, we urge Congress to pass legislation to protect DACA beneficiaries without delay.”