Congress must act to thwart Trump’s immigration plans
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As President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE continues with the transition process, the Latino community prepares to fight what is expected to be the most anti-immigrant administration in modern history.

According to the administration’s plan for its first 100 days in office, the President-elect will terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) originally created by an executive order from President Obama in 2012.

Through DACA, individuals who came to this country as children, through no fault of their own, and met certain requirements are protected from deportation and are allowed the opportunity to work, study, and serve in the military.

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If Trump follows through on his promise and terminates the program, it will have an immediate negative impact on approximately 800,000 individuals and their families, while adversely impacting the U.S. economy.  LULAC is gratified by the effort in the Senate to save DACA through the introduction of the BRIDGE Act, the Bar Removal of Immigrants Who Dream and Grow the Economy Act.

Last week, Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinFour questions that deserve answers at the Guantanamo oversight hearing Senate dodges initial December crisis with last-minute deal Conservatives target Biden pick for New York district court MORE (D-IL) and Senator Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Biden move to tap oil reserves draws GOP pushback MORE (R-SC) introduced the BRIDGE Act, which would provide three years of protection to individuals who came to United States as children and allow them to continue to work hard, study, and serve in the military.

The statute is designed to retain the status quo for participants in the DACA program who would otherwise be forced back into the shadows with the discontinuation of the program. Like DACA, provisional status will provide an opportunity for approximately 800,000 people to live the American dream.

Programs that offer provisional status like DACA and the BRIDGE Act are also beneficial to the American economy. The Congressional Budget Office has outlined the economic benefits of DACA to include raising the level of the U.S. GDP by $90 billion over the next ten years.

In addition, the U.S. labor force would expand by nearly 150,000 workers; productivity of American workers would increase; the average wages for U.S.-born workers would increase by $170 billion; and federal deficits would see a reduction of $25 billion during the same 10-year period.

American values also speak in favor of the continuation of the DACA program. This group of individuals came to this country as children through no fault of their own. This is the only country they know, and all they ask for is an opportunity to live the American dream.

These young immigrants are not criminals and are not a drain on U.S. taxpayers. To target these immigrants for deportation through the termination of the DACA program would be inconsistent with our values.

It would result in families being torn apart and send a clear message that this is a country with opportunity for some, but not all Americans.

LULAC commends senators Durbin and Graham for recognizing the plight of these young people. The BRIDGE Act is a significant step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done, as it would only provide temporary relief.

LULAC, with its partner organizations, will work to push for the passage of the BRIDGE Act to protect the 800,000 young people participating in DACA and will continue to fight for comprehensive solutions to our deeply flawed immigration system.

Wilkes is the executive director of the League of Latin American Citizens, which advocates for the political, economic and educational rights of Hispanic Americas. Follow him on Twitter@BrentWilkes. Follow LULAC on Twitter @LULAC


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