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NIJC Welcomes BRIDGE Act and Joins more than 850 Organizations Calling on Trump to Protect Immigrant Youth

Statement of Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, National Immigrant Justice Center

America’s immigrants and their allies stand prepared to face a new presidential administration that has threatened mass deportations and promised to dismantle Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that has provided temporary relief for more than 740,000 immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. In the lead-up to the inauguration and all it symbolizes for immigrant communities, the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) welcomes the BRIDGE Act. This bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and U.S. Representatives Mike Coffman (R-CO06) and Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL04), would secure DACA’s protections for three years, sheltering some immigrant youth from immigration enforcement. The bill sends a powerful signal that members of Congress in both parties reject the president-elect’s attacks on our nation’s immigrant communities.

NIJC is also proud to join more than 850 religious, civil rights, ethnic and immigrant rights organizations calling on the Trump administration to keep DACA intact. In a letter sent to the transition team today, these voices remind the incoming administration that immigrants are integral to our nation’s families, communities, and workplaces. The loss of DACA would be a blow felt by all Americans. Through DACA, immigrant youth have secured employment, opened bank accounts, established credit histories, and started businesses. Eliminating DACA would not only destabilize families, but force companies and small businesses to lose nearly one million workers, with turnover costs estimated at $3.4 billion, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. Terminating DACA would eliminate $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare contributions over the next decade.

Since Election Day, NIJC has responded to hundreds of calls and inquiries from immigrants and families who are uncertain what their futures hold and fearful they are no longer welcome in the United States. We also have responded to questions from small businesses and large corporations who wonder what the loss of DACA would mean for employees they have trained and on whom they have become dependent. NIJC stands united with the growing chorus resisting the anti-immigrant rhetoric associated with the president-elect. Policies that destabilize immigrant communities and families will undermine the dignity and well-being of our entire nation, and will be challenged at every turn.