Dreamers — the immigrant youth who have lived in the U.S. most of their lives — have gone to school here, earned degrees here, and even worked legally here in recent years. They are now fearful they might have to go back into the shadows.

But, thanks to bipartisan leaders in Congress, the approximately 750,000 Dreamers using Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals might have a pathway to temporary legal status via the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act.

Recent comments by both President-elect Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan clearly indicate they agree a positive solution must be found for these diligent, important members of our society. Additionally, Congress’ quick response in developing forward-looking, bipartisan legislation to fix the problem shows there is broad-based support for protecting these young people.

The country ought to be focusing on the most critical issues facing our communities, not on scapegoating young people who are contributing to our society. If DACA recipients suddenly lost their jobs, the turnover costs alone would be at least $3.4 billion — and Social Security and Medicare would lose $24.6 billion over a decade. Not to mention the devastating impact of tearing apart our friends’ and neighbors’ families.

While the BRIDGE Act’s introduction is a great start, it is up to our leaders in Congress — including Sen. James Lankford — to get this bill passed and forwarded to the new president’s desk as early in 2017 as possible.

Letters to the editor are encouraged. Send letters to letters@tulsaworld.com.

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