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NEA president comments on bipartisan, bicameral BRIDGE Act

Lily Eskelsen García: The bill would allow young people the opportunity to contribute and thrive in America


WASHINGTON - January 12, 2017 -

Lawmakers from both Congressional chambers and political parties today introduced the BRIDGE Act, a bill to extend three years of protection of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals DACA recipients and DACA-eligible DREAMERS, people who came to the United States as children. In the Senate, Sens. Richard J. Durbin, D-Illinois, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, introduced the bipartisan legislation. In the House, Reps. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, and Mike Coffman, R-Colorado, introduced the bicameral bill.

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Dianne Feinstein, D-California, Jeff Flake R-Arizona, Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Kamala Harris, D-California, are original cosponsors of the Senate version of the BRIDGE Act. U.S. Representatives Jeff Denham, R-California, Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-California, Carlos L. Curbelo, R-Florida, Zoe Lofgren, D-California, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, and Judy Chu, D-California, are original cosponsors of the House version of the BRIDGE Act.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“The BRIDGE Act represents our values and rich tradition of welcoming and embracing aspiring Americans who are working hard every day to make life better for themselves, their families and communities.
“We stand in support of commonsense policies that allow our students to learn and contribute without fear in our classrooms, schools and communities. DACA works to unleash the tremendous potential immigrant students bring. Our nation is benefiting from their hard work, ingenuity and achievements.

“We agree with the growing chorus of voices across the country, which includes mayors, college presidents, and leaders: DACA is morally right. The BRIDGE Act’s bi-partisan support indicates that there is a commitment from both sides of the aisle to provide our young people with the opportunity to contribute and thrive.

“We commend Senators Richard Durbin and Lindsey Graham, as well as Representatives Gutierrez and Coffman, for doubling-down on their commitment to DACA recipients and to our DREAMERS. We urge the incoming Trump administration and Congress to capitalize on the bipartisan, bicameral nature of the proposal and do what is right for our students, their families and our communities. While we welcome this short-term fix, it is not a long-term solution. We renew our call to Congress to fight for family unity and to make sure the immigration system works for all of us.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  202-822-7823, mgonzalez@nea.org