New York Times: Donald Trump Blocked ‘BRIDGE’ Amnesty

Trump Listens, Ponders
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NEIL MUNRO

President Donald Trump quietly blocked a stealthy “BRIDGE” amnesty that would have crippled immigration enforcement and triggered a migrant wave during his 2020 election, according to a report in the New York Times.

Trump’s decision to block the BRIDGE plan came after hearing advice from White House aide Steve Miller, the former Senate aide who played a key role in blocking the 2013 “Gang of Eight” cheap labor amnesty.

The President’s January 19 offer of a three-year work permit amnesty now covers just the one million people who are enrolled in the DACA amnesty and the Temporary Protective Status program.  The president’s decision contradicts pre-speech leaks which said Trump was going to endorse the no-limits BRIDGE amnesty.

The BRIDGE bill was developed by pro-migration legislators. It is marketed as a mere extension of President Barack Obama’s DACA amnesty, which provided worker permits to roughly 800,000 younger illegals. But the BRIDGE Act offers three-year residencies and work permits to an unlimited number of people who look younger than 40 and claim to have lived in the United States between 2007 and 2012. The amnesty is even provided to many of the one million resident illegals who have been ordered home by a judge.

Miller helped the President and his aides decide to drop the BRIDGE expansion, according to the New York Times’ report:

In recent days, as White House officials had been working out the details of the compromise, Mr. Miller intervened to narrow the universe of immigrants who would receive protection, according to people familiar with the internal discussions who described them on the condition of anonymity.

While the original idea had been to include protections for as many as 1.8 million undocumented immigrants eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program known as DACA that protected those illegally brought to the United States as children, Mr. Trump ultimately proposed shielding only the 700,000 who are enrolled.

At least three White House reporters said they were told the Trump speech would include the BRIDGE plan.

“If the Congress had ended up passing something like the BRIDGE Act, the amnesty process would be in full force right during the presidential campaign, which means that enforcement would be largely suspended as well,” said Mark Krikorian, the director of the Center for Immigration Studies.

He continued, “The president would be running for reelection at precisely the time his administration would be running one of the biggest amnesties we’ve ever seen. It would clearly be contrary to the message he’d be trying to send.”

The BRIDGE Act, he said, “is whole new amnesty and would result in a suspension of ICE enforcement and it would clearly encourage more migrants.”

Passage of the bill would also immediately reassure business leaders that they would soon receive a flood of new labor. That reassurance would greatly reduce pressure on employers — including those who are part of the Koch network — to raise voters’ wages before Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.

Trump avoided this disaster, Krikorian said, by limiting his offer of a three-year work-permit amnesty to the one million migrants who have already registered themselves for the DACA amnesty and the TPS program. By ensuring a cap, “the President is just changing the expiration date on the work permits,” Krikorian said.

The supporters of the BRIDGE Act say it will cover an estimated population of 1.8 million younger illegals in the United States.

But the BRIDGE act flips the burden of proof from the amnesty-seeking migrant to enforcement officials, even as it creates a hugely valuable incentive for the cartels to help many millions of foreigners win work permits via fraud.

The Secretary of Homeland Security would be required to provide the amnesty to each applicant who files documents — real or fake — unless officials can quickly prove the application was fraudulent. The bill says:

“(b) Authorization.—The Secretary—

“(1) shall grant provisional protected presence to an alien who files an application demonstrating that he or she meets the eligibility criteria under subsection (c) and pays the appropriate application fee;

The BRIDGE Act requires that enforcement officials prove in the backlogged courts that the migrant is not eligible for the BRIDGE amnesty. Even migrants who choose to jump over the border wall in 2019 would be eligible for the BRIDGE Act amnesty unless officials could somehow prove that the migrants were not in the United States from 2007 to 2012. 

Currently, legal claims are backlogged for several years because courts are dealing with more than 800,000 cases filed by migrants. During a backlog, asylum-seeking migrants are allowed to get work permits. 

The BRIDGE bill says:

(3) REMOVAL STAYED WHILE APPLICATION PENDING.—The Secretary may not remove an alien from the United States who appears prima facie eligible for provisional protected presence while the alien’s application for provisional protected presence is pending.

Even many of the one million illegal migrants in the United States who have been ordered home by judges would be allowed to apply for the amnesty:

“(4) ALIENS NOT IN IMMIGRATION DETENTION.—An alien who is not in immigration detention, but who is in removal proceedings, is the subject of a final removal order, or is the subject of a voluntary departure order, may apply for provisional protected presence under this section if the alien appears prima facie eligible for provisional protected presence.

The bill also bars officials from sharing any information about amnesty applicants with the agencies responsible for detecting immigration fraud:

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall protect information provided in applications for provisional protected presence under this section and in requests for consideration of DACA from disclosure to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the purpose of immigration enforcement proceedings.

The BRIDGE Act’s far-reaching provisions are similar to the proposed “Probationary Z Visa” in the failed 2007 amnesty. The amnesty initially required officials to grant each amnesty request from an illegal unless officials could prove fraud within 24 hours of the application being delivered. There was no cap on the number of illegals — or subsequent migrants — who could have gotten work permits via the Z Visa provision for two years after the bill became law.

The 2013 amnesty bill also included a similar open-ended amnesty because it directed the federal government to provide green cards to all foreigners who earn technology-related masters degrees at American universities. The investor-backed clause would have quickly flooded the white-collar labor market and cut middle class salaries nationwide, but it died when GOP voters blocked the amnesty.

Similarly, advocates for the 2013 amnesty declared their bill would tighten workplace rules to prevent the unauthorized employment of illegals. In fact, the draft bill stealthily killed the existing E-Verify authorization system without ensuring a replacement.

White House officials are waiting for Democrats to decide if they will support or oppose President Trump’s capped work permit amnesty this week.

If the Democrats accept the plan and the government is reopened, then additional migration talks are possible, officials said.

In a press briefing after Trump’s speech, Kushner told reporters that “the hope is as we get through his situation … This could be a  step towards broader immigration reform because there is a lot of security issues and a lot of humanitarian issues that – and economic issues –that are impacted by the way our immigration system is currently structured.”

The establishment’s economic policy of using legal and illegal migration to boost economic growth shifts enormous wealth from young people towards older people by flooding the market with cheap white-collar and blue-collar foreign labor.

That annual flood of roughly one million legal immigrants — as well as visa workers and illegal immigrants — spikes profits and Wall Street values by shrinking salaries for 150 million blue-collar and white-collar employees and especially wages for the four million young Americans who join the labor force each year.

The cheap labor policy widens wealth gaps, reduces high tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high tech careers, and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.

Immigration also steers investment and wealth away from towns in Heartland states because coastal investors can more easily hire and supervise the large immigrant populations who prefer to live in coastal cities. In turn, that coastal investment flow drives up coastal real estate prices and pushes poor U.S. Americans, including Latinos and blacks, out of prosperous cities such as Berkeley and Oakland.

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