Bi-partisan bill seeks to set workers’ rights

By Denis Perez, Photo Editor

With no clear plans for the 750,000 undocumented youths registered with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), supporters call for legal actions to push for an immigration pathway to permanent citizenship.

The indefinite pathway for DACA applicants prompted Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Illinois Senator Dick Durbin to reintroduce a piece of legislation to protect DACA recipients.

Contra Costa College Dean of Institutional Efficiency and Equity Mayra Padilla said there needs to be a greater push toward making DACA a law.

She said the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act would make DACA  a federal law.

According to Dr. Padilla, DACA recipients would receive an immigrant status that grants three years — unlike the two offered by DACA — of conditional amnesty. This would allow people to have a Social Security number, identification cards, access to education and qualifications for special immigrant statuses.

Padilla said the BRIDGE Act is a step in the right direction toward the goal of a direct path for legalization. 

“The best way to defend DACA is to fight for it in the legal system,” she said.

President Obama’s executive order on immigration has not been directly addressed by the Trump administration, despite controversial detentions of DACA students that generated enhanced enforcement rumors across the U.S.

Shioni Akimoto, immigration  attorney, said she is advising people to renew existing registrations but cautioned applicants not to apply for DACA for the first time because of the “risk of coming out” and sharing information including, the applicants’ date and point of entry into the United States.

Still, she said, many have continued to come to apply for the first time despite the inherent risks.

CCC engineering major Yesenia Rodriguez said the reality is that DACA can be stopped at any time. She said there needs to be optimism that it will continue to exist as an opportunity for her to attain  higher education. Her goal is that the program will elevate her to a high paying job with a chance to help her community.

Ending the  program would slow the opportunity for the success of undocumented youth.

The cancellation of the DACA would also cost the U.S. gross domestic product, GDP, a $433.4 billion reduction over the following 10 years, according to the Center for American Progress.