President Donald Trump confirmed on Friday reports that his administration is reviewing the idea of busing migrants who crossed the border illegally 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 tweeted.
“The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!” the president added.
….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
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to the proposal calling it “despicable.”
“The extent of this Administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne said in a statement Friday. “Using human beings–including little children–as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable, and in some cases, criminal.”
She added, “The American people have resoundingly rejected this Administration’s toxic anti-immigrant policies, and Democrats will continue to advance immigration policies that keep us safe and honor our values.”
The Washington Post first reported that the White House had proposed sending migrants to sanctuary cities, including Pelosi’s San Francisco district, at least twice during the last six months.
The idea was floated in November as a migrant caravan approached the U.S. border with Mexico and again in February, during the partial government shutdown over border barrier construction funding.
“White House officials first broached the plan in a Nov. 16 email, asking officials at several agencies whether members of the caravan could be arrested at the border and then bused ‘to small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,’ places where local authorities have refused to hand over illegal immigrants for deportation,” according to The Post.
The White House told Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials that the plan is intended both to alleviate detention space and send a message to Democrats.
NBC News White House correspondent Geoff Bennett cited a White House official saying the proposal is less about retribution and more about relieving the “unfair burden” on border towns.
A WH official this morning tells @HallieJackson the proposal to bus detained immigrants to sanctuary cities is less about retribution and more about relieving an “unfair burden” on border towns: “Why wouldn’t we send them to districts where Democrats say ‘we want ‘em?’”
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) April 12, 2019
“Why wouldn’t we send them to districts where Democrats say ‘we want ‘em?’” the official reportedly said.
The Trump administration’s proposal comes as the number of apprehensions at the southern border spiked to over 100,000 in March.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol recorded more than 3,700 apprehensions along the southwest border sector in one day late last month, which was the largest single-day total in more than a decade.
Then-CBP Commissioner, now acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan stated at a news conference at the time, the “breaking point has arrived … at the border.”
During a visit to the border in Nogales, Arizona, on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence called on Congress to act to address the growing crisis.
Thank you, @VP, for coming to the border.
This is not a partisan issue. It’s not a Republican or Democrat issue. It’s an issue of public safety, border security and national security, and not just for Arizona but the entire country. pic.twitter.com/xWTVkXR99T
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) April 11, 2019
He told border patrol agents, “We get it, and it’s time Congress got it.”
Pence later tweeted, “Democrats in Congress need to sit down and take a break from everything else they’re focused on and deal with what the American people want them to deal with, which is securing our border and protecting our country.”
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