Hours after White House officials said the idea was not being considered, and ignoring the legal advice of the Department of Homeland Security, President Donald Trump on Friday afternoon threatened to send illegal immigrants captured at the Mexican border to urban areas known as 'sanctuary cities.'
On Twitter, the President first criticized Democrats over stalled efforts on immigration legislation, and then went against officials in his own administration by saying, "we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities."
Asked by reporters about the plan, Mr. Trump made clear he was ready to do it, especially in California.
“They want more people in their sanctuary cities - well, we'll give them more people,” Mr. Trump said. “We can give them an unlimited supply.”
"A lot of people coming in, refugees coming in...so we'll give them to the sanctuary cities, maybe, to take care of," Trump says pic.twitter.com/VZOA2pLidw— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) April 12, 2019
MORE: Pres. Trump: "California certainly is always saying we want more people...Well, we'll give them more people. We can give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply. And let's see if they're so happy." https://t.co/00eiiA8HiN pic.twitter.com/IVowg5BOiq— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) April 12, 2019
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....— 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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2019
Democrats said the idea smelled of political retribution by a President who is frustrated that he cannot unilaterally impose his will on immigration policy, without first getting approval in Congress.
"Trump’s plan to release migrants into “enemy” cities as if they are some kind of contagion is reprehensible," said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).
"It seems there is no limit to how far Trump will go to degrade the office he holds," said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who noted in a tweet, 'here in California, we're proud' of sanctuary cities.
"It demonstrates an unimpeded desire to divide Americans against one another and again conveys once more his utter lack of fitness to serve as the leader of our nation," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).
Republicans have long chafed at 'sanctuary cities,' jurisdictions which refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.