Three Ways the BRIDGE Act Supports the U.S. Economy

In December, we were happy to host Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition to share information on the BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy) Act which was created by Senator Durbin, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The act provides a legislative solution for more than 750,000 Dreamers who earned work permits under DACA – Defer Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy that defers deportation to people under age 31 who came to the U.S. under the age 16 and meet other criteria.

DACA-protected immigrants account for children raised in the United States, who grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the only national anthem they know – ours. These people are now working, paying income tax, contributing to their communities and the American dream. While the BRIDGE Act is not a long-term solution to comprehensive immigration reform, it does continue to protect those currently protected under DACA, and also maintains eligibility for those who met the previous stringent qualifications and are looking to apply. Staying in the U.S. is not only critical to these individual’s future but also for our nation’s. The legislation:

Supports Educated, Ambitious People

The individuals who are legally in the U.S. under DACA are teachers, nurses, engineers and entrepreneurs who excel in their fields and contribute to our economy. Like the immigrants who founded our country, these people are ambitious. They take every opportunity they can to educate themselves. They’re hardworking and the epitome of the American spirit. 

One of our event attendees, Carlos, is a perfect example. He was not eligible for federal education support, but earned merit-based scholarships to fund his degree. He started his higher education at a community college, and then transferred to Loyola. He taught in Chicago for a year, pursued his master’s degree, and ultimately works at Deloitte, one of the most respected and challenging consulting agencies in the world. It’s dedicated and ambitious people like Carlos who prove that supporting these individuals is not only good for them, but great for America.

Creates New Businesses and Jobs

Six percent of DACA recipients have launched businesses that employ native-born American citizens. Two years ago, 28 percent of all new entrepreneurs were immigrants. They’ve taken the American dream to heart and worked tirelessly to found successful companies. Beyond founders, tech companies in particular are propped up by engineering, software development, and other entrepreneurial skills that often stems from immigrant talent.

If passed, the BRIDGE Act enables these individuals to continue to work, create jobs, pay taxes, buy homes, and contribute to our economy and country. These are the type of people we want to drive the U.S. forward.

Increased Consumer Purchasing Power

Keeping these nearly 800,000 working people employed and purchasing big-ticket assets strengthens America’s consumer purchasing power. More than 50 percent of DACA recipients have purchased a vehicle, and more than one in ten have purchased their first home. When compared with other home purchasing trends such as more than half of Millennials opt for “untraditional” living options like renting with friends, this is a striking statistic with real fiscal impact. These DACA-supported American residents are paying taxes or paying off loans for mortgages, cars, and higher education, supporting the nation’s economy.

From educational ambition to entrepreneurship and more buying power, we can’t afford to push these valuable immigrants out of our country. Share your support of the BRIDGE Act and its recipients with your local, professional and digital communities and we can work together to continue America’s heritage of homegrown, immigrant innovation.