Siskind Summary – The BRIDGE Act

By Greg Siskind (gsiskind@visalaw.com)

Siskind Susser, PC – Immigration Lawyers (www.visalaw.com)

 

Section 1 – The “Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act” or the “BRIDGE Act”

 

Section 2. Provisional Protected Presence for Young Individuals

INA is amended by adding a new Section 244A. Provisional Protected Presence.

Definitions –

DACA recipient – person in deferred action status on the date of enactment of this section pursuant to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program announced on 6/12/2012.

Felony – any federal, state or local criminal offense punishable for a year exceeding one year.

Misdemeanor – any federal, state or local criminal offense (excluding offenses that are immigration-related, significant misdemeanors, or a traffic offense) punishable for between five days and a year and the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less.

Secretary – Secretary of Homeland Security

Significant Misdemeanor – any federal, state or local criminal offense (excluding offenses that are immigration-related, significant misdemeanors, or a traffic offense) punishable for between five days and a year that is a crime of domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking, or driving under the influence (if the state law requires a finding of blood alcohol content of .08 or higher) or resulted in a sentence of time in custody of more than 90 days.

Threat to National Security – An alien is a threat to national security if the alien is

  • Inadmissible under 212(a)(3) or deportable under 237(a)(4) [security grounds]

Threat to Public Safety – An alien is a threat to public safety if the alien has been convicted of an offense which an element was participation in a criminal street gane or has engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.

DHS shall grant provisional protected presence to an alien who files an application showing he or she meets the eligibility criteria and pays the appropriate fee. DHS may not remove aliens while they have provisional protected presence unless that status is rescinded. Those aliens shall be provided with employment authorization.

Eligibility Criteria. Aliens are eligible for Provisional Protected Presence if the alien

  1. was born after June 15, 1981;
  2. entered the US before attaining 16 years of age;
  3. continuously resided in the US between June 15, 2007 and the date the alien filed an application under this section;
  4. was physically present in the US on June 15, 2012 and on the date the alien files an application under this section;
  5. was unlawfully present in the US on June 15, 2012;
  6. on the date on which the alien files an application for provisional protected presence –

– is enrolled in school or an education program assisting students in obtaining a regular high school diploma or its recognized equivalent under state law or in passing a GED exam;

– has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school;

– has obtained a general educational development certificate; or

– is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the US

  1. has not been convicted of

– a felony;

– a significant misdemeanor; or

-three or more misdemeanors not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct; and

  1. does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or a threat to public safety.

Duration of provisional protected presence and employment authorization – PPP and EAD provided under the bill shall be effective until the date that is three years after the date of enactment.

Status during period of PPP – Aliens granted PPP are not considered to be unlawfully present in the US during the period beginning on the date such status is granted and ending on the date noted above. Granting PPP doesn’t not excuse previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.

Application –

Age requirement – must be at least 15 on the date on which the alien submits an application under this section. Exception – Age requirement of 15 doesn’t apply to alien if, on the date alien applies for PPP, is in removal proceedings, has a final removal order or has a voluntary departure order.

Application fee – DHS may charge a reasonable fee commensurate with the cost of processing the application. Exemptions available for those under 18 with income below 150% of the poverty limit and who are in foster care or lacking parental or familial support or is under 18 and is homeless, or cannot care for himself or herself because of a serious chronic disability and has income below 150% of the poverty limit, or has medical debt over $10,000 and has income less than 150% of the poverty limit.

DHS may not remove an alien from the US who appears prima facie eligible for PPP while the PPP application is pending.

Aliens not in immigration detention but who are in removal proceedings, are subject to a final removal order or are the subject of a voluntary departure order, may apply for PPP under this section if the alien appears prima facie eligible for PPP.

DHS shall provide any alien in immigration detention, including any alien who is in removal proceedings, is the subject of a final removal order, who appears prima facie eligible for PPP, upon request, with a reasonable opportunity to apply for PPP.

Confidentiality – DHS shall protect information provided in applications for PPP under this section and in requests for consideration of DACA from disclosure to ICE and CBP for enforcement proceedings. DHS may not refer people who cases have been deferred pursuant to DACA or who have been granted PPP. Exception to share information if needed for consideration of the application for PPP, to identify or prevent fraud, for national security and to investigate or prosecute any felony not related to immigration status.

Acceptance of applications – Not later than 60 days after enactment, DHS shall begin accepting applications for PPP and EAD.

Rescission of PPP – DHS may not rescind PPP or an EAD under this section unless DHS determines the alien has 1)  been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors not arising on out of the same act, omission or scheme; 2) poses a threat to national security or a threat to public safety; 3) has traveled outside the US without authorization from DHS; or 4) has ceased to continuously reside in the US.

Treatment of Brief, Casual, and Innocent Departures and Certain Other Absences.

Aliens aren’t considered to have failed to continuously reside in the US due to brief, casual and innocent absences from the US during the period from 6/15/2007 to 8/14/2012 or travel outside the US on or after 8/12/2012 if such travel was authorized by DHS.

Treatment of Expunged Convictions- Expunged convictions shall not automatically be treated as a disqualifying felony, significant misdemeanor, or misdemeanor but shall be evaluated on a case-by-case basis according to the nature and severity of the offense.

Effect of Deferred Action Under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.

PPP – A DACA recipient is deemed to have PPP under this section through the expiration date of the alien’s deferred action status, as specified by DHS in conjunction with the approval of the alien’s DACA application.

Employment Authorization – If a DACA recipient has been granted an EAD in addition to deferred action, the EAD shall continue through the expiration of the alien’s deferred action status, as specified by DHS in conjunction with the approval of the alien’s DACA application.

Effect of Application – If a DACA recipient files a PPP application not later than the expration date of the alien’s deferred action status, the alien’s PPP an EAD shall remain in effect pending adjudication of the application.

Greg Siskind

Greg Siskind

Greg Siskind is a partner with Siskind Susser, PC - Immigration Lawyers. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, he received his law degree at the University of Chicago. He created the first immigration law web site in 1994 and the first law blog in 1997. He's written four books and currently serves on the board of governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He can be reached by email at gsiskind@visalaw.com.
Greg Siskind
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