Trump calls sanctuary cities' bluff: 'Let's see if they have open arms'
President Trump said Friday that he is considering a plan to release illegal immigrants into sanctuary cities, saying it is fitting punishment for Democrat-led communities that refuse to get tough on border security.
Mr. Trump was confirming a report in The Washington Post that said the idea was being considered.
“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,” the president said on Twitter.
Hours later, speaking to reporters at the White House, Mr. Trump said he would only be giving the sanctuaries what they say they want.
“California certainly is always saying ‘Oh we want more people,’ and they want more people in their sanctuary cities, well we’ll give them more people. We’ll give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply,” he said.
“Let’s see if they have open arms,” he added.
The president also said he will send more troops to the border.
Sanctuary cities are communities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, shielding them from detection to varying degrees. California, for example, has enacted laws that ended cooperation between local police and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on a number of areas including anti-gang efforts and translation assistance.
Democrats bristled at Mr. Trump’s suggestion.
“It is a notion that is unworthy of the presidency of the United States and disrespectful,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters.
Thousands of illegal immigrant children and families are being nabbed at the border every day right now and because of lax U.S. laws, most of them are quickly released. That usually means being driven to a bus station in a city near the border and dropped off, leaving the migrants to disperse on their own or with the help of nonprofit organizations that are rushing to help.
Some of those communities have complained about being overwhelmed by the releases.
Mr. Trump didn’t say what exactly he’s considering, but one option would be to transport the illegal immigrants caught at the border to sanctuary jurisdictions elsewhere, spreading the impact of the releases beyond the border.
Court documents detailing illegal immigration show some migrants already gravitate toward sanctuary communities, seeking out the more generous treatment such as ability to obtain government services and driver’s licenses.
Others will end up traveling to where they already have family or friends or the hope of a job, and if they were released into sanctuary cities they would likely leave for their original destinations.