Immigration Bills Proposed in Senate

The election of incumbent president Donald Trump has deeply troubled many immigrants and others due to frequent anti-immigrant rhetoric.  Although he later expressed sympathy for DACA holders, one of his campaign promises was to rescind DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a program instituted by President Obama to provide temporary status to eligible young people who were brought to the U.S. before age 16.  Approximately 750,000 people currently hold DACA status. On December 9th a coalition of Democratic and Republican senators introduced the BRIDGE Act (Bar Removal of Immigrants Who Dream and Grow the Economy Act,” S. 3542) to temporarily protect those eligible for DACA in the event that after becoming President, Donald Trump eliminates the program. We urge you to contact your senators and express support for the BRIDGE Act, which will benefit the overall U.S. economy as well as protect the individuals concerned.

On the same day another bill was proposed called the SAFE Act (“Securing Active and Fair Enforcement Act”). We oppose the SAFE Act, which would institute enforcement measures that would promote mandatory detention and decrease or eliminate due process for immigrants in removal proceedings. If implemented, the SAFE Act would require detaining undocumented immigrants with U.S. citizen family members who pose no danger to the community.  Although described as targeting “violent criminals,” the bill would apply to individuals who had been arrested in error and found not guilty of any crime, as well as to individuals who had committed minor offenses such as shoplifting or failing to pay for riding the metro. In addition to burdening tax-payers by requiring unnecessary and cruel detention, the bill is likely to make communities less safe by damaging police-community relationships.  We hope that you will contact your senators to express your support for the Bridge Act and opposition to the SAFE Act.  Virginia residents should contact Senator Kaine at 202-224-4024 and Senator Warner at 202-224-2023.  Maryland residents should contact Senator Cardin at 202-224-4524 and Senator Mikulski at 202-224-4654.

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