The BRIDGE Act* is bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL). If passed, the BRIDGE Act would allow individuals who are eligible— along with those who have already received relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—to remain in the United States without the daily threat of deportation.
At this time, the BRIDGE Act is only a bill—it is not yet law. There is currently no application for the BRIDGE program, so you should not pay anyone to submit a BRIDGE Act application for you. This is a general guide meant for non-immigration attorneys and advocates. It is not legal advice. Consult an immigration attorney when considering immigration issues.
What would the BRIDGE Act do?
If passed, the BRIDGE Act would allow certain non-citizen US residents to receive “provisional protected presence” or a temporary relief from deportation, so they can legally remain in the US for three years.
Currently, these protections are available as part of President Obama’s executive order, creating the DACA program in 2012. The BRIDGE Act is necessary to codify President Obama’s executive order into law. As an executive order, the current or future Presidents could remove the existing protections without any authorization from Congress. As a law, the BRIDGE Act would offer more protection than the existing executive order because it would have to go through Congress’ process in order to be changed or repealed.
The BRIDGE Act does not provide a pathway to citizenship.
What are the Eligibility Criteria for the BRIDGE Act?
To receive provisional protected presence, the non-US citizen would need to:
- Be born after June 15, 1981 and show that they came into the US at a young age
- Entered the US before the age of 16
- Continuously lived in the US from June 15, 2007 to the application date
- Have pursued an education
- Enrolled in school or educational program to get a high school diploma or equivalent
- Received high school diploma or equivalent
- Honorably discharged from the US Armed Forces or Coast Guard
- Undergo criminal background checks and demonstrate that they do not pose a threat to national security or to public safety
- Not be convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors
- Pay an application fee
- The cost of this fee is decided by the Secretary of Homeland Security and has not yet been decided
- There are exemptions to this fee based on family and income criteria
No information in the application could be used by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement or US Customs and Border Protection to persecute DACA recipients and the information would be kept confidential by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
This is not all the information that you need to know about the law. Speak to an attorney. If you do not have a lawyer, the South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service can give you the name of a lawyer who is willing to meet with you and advise you at a lower rate. For the name of a lawyer, call the Lawyer Referral Service (800) 868-2284.
*BRIDGE Act stands for Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow our Economy Act