President Donald Trump on April 12 said he is considering a plan to transport aliens who are apprehended after illegally crossing the southwest border exclusively to sanctuary cities.
“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
….The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2019
“The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”
The president’s message confirmed anonymously sourced reports that the White House is considering the measure. Sanctuary cities are locales which have enacted measures to prevent local officials from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. There are eight states and hundreds of cities across the United States which are officially sanctuaries for illegal aliens.
The Washington Post first reported the story two days prior to Trump’s message.
San Francisco, the hometown of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is a sanctuary city. Pelosi told reports on April 12 she was not aware of the report.
“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 country, as a people, to address who we are, a nation of immigrants,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi was in Leesburg, Virginia, where House Democrats were wrapping up a three-day retreat.
California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont are sanctuary states.
Trump’s message arrived as the White House is reshuffling the leadership atop the immigration agencies as part of a strategy to get tougher on immigration.
In addition to the sanctuary plan, the Trump administration is also considering restricting remittances to Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Another policy under consideration would be to let illegal alien family units who claim asylum choose to either go into long-term detention as a family or to send their children to government shelters until their asylum claim is adjudicated.
Officials are also mulling whether to start detaining illegal aliens minors for a period longer than the court-imposed 20-day maximum in order to trigger a legal battle they hope could result in a fix to the asylum loophole.
The Post, which reviewed emails on the issue and spoke to unnamed officials at the Department of Homeland Security, said the White House proposed the measure at least twice in the past six months.
Trump administration officials proposed the measure in November as a caravan traveled through Mexico with mostly migrants from Central American countries toward the southern U.S. border. The proposal emerged again in February during a standoff with Democrats over funding the president sought to build a wall on the border, one of the signature issues of his 2016 election campaign and presidency.
The Post said a Nov. 16 email broached the proposal, asking officials at different agencies whether members of the migrant caravan could be detained at the border, then bused to “small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” where local officials refuse to hand over illegal immigrants for deportation.
Reuters contributed to this report.