In 2012, the Obama Administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for DREAMers, the over 750,000 undocumented immigrants who grew up in the United States and who want to give back to society and raise their own families in the only nation they know as home.
Now, as we transition to a new administration, participants in and applicants to DACA are in a vulnerable state. Their names and contact information are known to the federal government, and if the succeeding administration seeks to deport all undocumented immigrants as was stated during the campaign, the DACA program provides a robust list.
The Bridge Act (S. 128/H.R. 496) is a bipartisan piece of legislation which would allow DACA recipients and those eligible for DACA to apply for “provisional protected presence” and work authorization for a three-year period. The bill would also impose restrictions on the sharing of information in DACA and provisional protected presence applications with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for purposes of immigration enforcement. The Bridge Act does not offer a pathway to citizenship, but it does allow DREAMers the ability to work and participate in American society without fear of deportation.
Jewish tradition is clear on the treatment of immigrants. Leviticus commands, “When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (19:33-34). This teaching permeates Jewish tradition and is echoed 35 times in the Torah – the most repeated of any commandment. Our own people’s history as “strangers” reminds us of the many struggles faced by immigrants today, and we affirm our commitment to create the same opportunities for today’s immigrants that were so valuable to our own community not so many years ago.
For more information, contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Max Antman at (202) 387-2800 or visit the RAC's Immigration issue page. In addition to sending an email through our form above, you can also call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.