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President Donald Trump has said that he would be in support of immigration officials shipping illegal immigrants from the border and dropping them off in “sanctuary cities.” Sanctuary cities have laws in place to prevent cooperation between local officials and federal immigration authorities.
However, according to The Washington Post, senior attorneys working for Immigration and Customs Enforcement had already dismissed the idea as illegal, and the head of the agency had called it “inappropriate.”
On Thursday, the Post published a story saying that the Trump administration was considering releasing illegal immigrants into so-called sanctuary cities, in order to punish those who oppose the president’s immigration policies.
According to the Post, one proposed drop off point for these immigrants was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) district in San Francisco.
A spokeswoman for Pelosi denounced the “administration’s cynicism and cruelty” and hopes of “[u]sing human beings — including little children — as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable.”
According to the report, ICE “rejected the idea as inappropriate.” The person at ICE responsible for this was Matthew Albence, who is now the acting director of the agency. The Post also said that “senior ICE attorneys told Albence and others that the plan was inappropriate and lacked a legal basis.”
MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff tweeted that a “former DHS official” from the Trump administration had also said that the plan was “so illegal.”
Trump now confirms he’s considering something a former DHS official *in his administration* told me is “so illegal.” https://t.co/VinjYMkdaD
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) April 12, 2019
An official from the Trump administration told the Post that the proposal was “just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion.”
But on Friday, a day after the story ran, Trump seemed to have restarted that discussion.
Trump tweeted, “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 Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy — so this should make them very happy!”
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, as of March 18 there were 33 sanctuary cities and 141 sanctuary counties in the United States. Eight state governments also have sanctuary laws: California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont.