WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump said on Friday that he is weighing the possibility of releasing captured undocumented migrants into so-called sanctuary cities, where municipal authorities generally decline to cooperate with federal immigration officials.
“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” he said on Twitter.
“The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!,” the Republican president added.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that the Trump administration had sought to persuade Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to deal with overcrowding at detention facilities on the border by transporting apprehended migrants to sanctuary cities, which are mainly governed by Democrats.
ICE, according to the Post, declined to implement the plan, while the White House said in a statement that the idea had been discarded.
Amid an uproar from Democrats, Trump contradicted the White House press office by insisting that the proposal remained under consideration.
Hours after his tweets, the president told reporters that his administration that his administration was “looking at the possibility, strongly looking at it.”
“We’ll give them to the sanctuary cities to take care of,” Trump said during an event at the White House.
The administration raised the issue with ICE on at least two separate occasions, the Post said.
Unnamed ICE and congressional sources told the newspaper that the main advocate for the idea was Stephen Miller, a senior Trump adviser known for his hard-line stance on immigration.
Among the intended destinations for migrants was San Francisco, represented by Democrat Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives.
“I don’t know anything about it, but again, it’s just another notion that is unworthy of the presidency of the United States and disrespectful of the challenges that we face as a county, as a people, to address who we are: a nation of immigrants,” Pelosi said Friday.
Soon after taking office in January 2017, Trump signed an executive order denying federal funding to sanctuary cities, but the targeted municipalities filed lawsuits and the case continues to wind its way through the courts.