White House considered sending migrants to sanctuary cities
by Harvest Prude
Posted 4/12/19, 11:16 am
WASHINGTON—Critics of the Trump administration’s immigration policies are stewing Friday morning over reports that the White House previously proposed releasing detained migrants into “sanctuary cities.” The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing anonymous Department of Homeland Security whistleblowers and emails, that the administration thought the plan would alleviate overcrowding at detention facilities while pressuring political adversaries to accept the administration’s immigration proposals.
White House officials did not act on the plan but reportedly considered it twice, once in November 2018 as a migrant caravan headed to the U.S. southern border and again in February when Democrats refused to fund a border wall. In an email dated Nov. 16, 2018, officials asked if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities could release members of the migrant caravan in to “small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” where local leaders do not hand over illegal immigrants for deportation. The administration also considered San Francisco, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., represents, as another possibility. “The extent of this administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne told the Post. “Using human beings—including little children—as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable.”
President Donald Trump has often blasted sanctuary city policies for flouting the law and putting U.S. citizens at risk of violent crime. Trump adviser Stephen Miller reportedly discussed the proposal with ICE, but the agency pushed back each time the plan was raised. A White House official told the Post that the proposal “was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion.”
ICE Deputy Director Matt Albence denied that the White House insisted that immigration officials implement the idea: “As the acting deputy, I was not pressured by anyone at the White House on this issue. I was asked my opinion and provided it, and my advice was heeded.”
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.