Congressman David Valadao announced Tuesday he's co-sponsoring legislation that would protect undocumented people who were brought to the United States as children if the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is discontinued under the new presidential administration.
The legislation is H.R. 496, the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act, which was first introduced in the U.S. Senate and then introduced in the House by Congressman Mike Coffman, R-Colo., according to a Valadao news release.
“It is clear our immigration system is in desperate need of reform however, executive orders are not legislation, and can easily be reversed, offering little assurance to those affected," Valadao, R-Hanford, said in the release. "This bill is the first step in addressing our failing immigration system the responsible way, through legislation, not unilateral executive action.
"The reality remains, reforming our broken system is complicated and will not be resolved overnight. The BRIDGE Act will provide protection to young people who only know the United States as their home until Congress can achieve a solution to address all aspects of immigration reform.”
The BRIDGE Act would temporarily spare from deportation, and extend employment authorization to, people eligible for the Department of Homeland Security’s DACA program, Valadao's office said.
DACA applies to young students and veterans who grew up in the United States if they register with the federal government, pay a fee, and pass a criminal background check. More than 47,000 people are impacted by the program in the four counties Valadao represents, including Kern, his office said.
It said the legislation has broad support from Democrats and Republicans in both the U.S. House and Senate as well as faith-based, civil rights and immigrant groups.
In what's likely to be one of the marquis local races of 2018, Shannon Grove is leading Connie Conway in fundraising for the 16th Senate District seat, though it's early in the contest.
Grove, a former Republican assemblywoman from Bakersfield, raised $84,765 last year for the post and had $271,343 in the bank on Dec. 31, according to the most recent round of campaign-finance filings, which were due Tuesday. Conway, a former Republican assemblywoman from Tulare (but born in Bakersfield), raised $16,000 and had $84,454 on hand at the end of the year.
But the money race is heating up now and those numbers won't be reflected in reports until this summer.
Grove held a fundraiser at the Kern County Fairgrounds last week; Conway is having one in Sacramento this week and plans to hold one in Tulare County at the end in February and one in Kern County in mid-March.
Grove and Conway are running to succeed state Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, who is terming out of the state Senate in two years. The sprawling district includes much of Kern County plus portions of Tulare and San Bernardino counties.