Opportunity to Advocate for Undocumented Students

January 23, 2017

Dear Rutgers Students,

I am writing to you today to bring to your attention bipartisan legislation that was recently introduced in the United States Senate and House of Representatives that would extend the DACA protections to students at colleges or universities throughout the nation.  Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) are the lead Senate sponsors for the legislation S.128, known as the BRIDGE Act. Other original co-sponsors include Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

The lead sponsors for the House counterpart, H.R.496, are Representatives Mike Coffman (R-CO) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). Original cosponsors of the House bill include Jeff Denham (R-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Carlos L. Curbelo (R-FL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Judy Chu (D-CA).

Many students at the University have called for protections for undocumented students. This legislation would provide those protections. If you feel strongly about this issue, I encourage you to follow the directions below to send an automatic letter to your US Senators and your member in the House of Representatives.

The BRIDGE Act would extend “provisional protected presence” to DACA-eligible individuals. Under the terms of the bill, a current DACA recipient would receive provisional protected status until the expiration date of his or her DACA status. An individual who is not a DACA recipient but who is eligible for DACA could also apply for provisional protected presence. As with DACA, applicants would be required to pay a reasonable fee, be subject to criminal background checks, and meet a number of eligibility criteria indicating that they came to the United States as minors, grew up in this country, have pursued an education, have not committed any serious crimes, and do not pose a threat to our country. 

Taking action to show your support is easy– it will take no more than a minute or two of your time. Simply follow this link which will take you to the Rutgers Advocacy webpage. Once there, you will be asked to provide your name and address; the advocacy program will generate a letter of support that will be emailed to your US Senators and Representative. The program automatically identifies your appropriate elected representative from your home address. The letter is pre-written, so you may review it before you hit “send.”

Let me emphasize that participation in this effort is entirely optional; while I personally support extending the current DACA protections, I understand that some of you may not. I would never presume to tell you what to do with respect to legislative advocacy. We are offering this option to you because many in our community have participated in activities to bring attention to the plight and status of undocumented students. This call to action is intended to provide you with a way, if you so choose, to express support for legislation that would achieve the public policy for which so many of you have been advocating.


Robert Barchi