Issued January 12, 2017
WASHINGTON— SEIU Executive Vice President Rocio Sáenz issued the following statement after Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Graham (R-SC) and Representatives Gutierrez (D-IL) and Coffman (R-CO) announced the reintroduction of bipartisan legislation, the "BRIDGE Act," intended to protect DACA beneficiaries from deportation:
“We are grateful to Senators Durbin and Graham and Representatives Coffman and Gutierrez -- and all of the other original cosponsors of the BRIDGE Act -- for their renewed 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 are teachers and students, scientists and bricklayers, entrepreneurs and janitors. In short, they are a making a vital contribution to 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 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 mass deportation, anti-worker and anti-immigrant agenda.
"Its introduction is only the first step of many before it can become law, and the BRIDGE Act would only address 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.