Advertisement
  1. Nation & World

Migrants to sanctuary cities not a top choice, White House officials say

President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks about the deployment of 5G technology in the United States during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Friday, April 12, 2019, in Washington. [Associated Press]
Published Apr. 15

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump wants to explore a twice-rejected proposal to send migrants to "sanctuary cities," but that is not the preferred solution to fix the straining immigration system, the White House said Sunday.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said it was one of many options, though she hoped Congress would work with the president on a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

The Trump administration is dealing with an ever-increasing number of Central American migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, an influx that has pushed the immigration system to the breaking point.

Laws make it hard to quickly return Central Americans, and many of them spend years in the U.S. waiting for their immigration cases to play out. Others claim asylum and wait just as long, living and working in the U.S. as they wait.

"Sanctuary cities" are mostly left-leaning places such as New York City and San Francisco where laws prohibit local police and correction officers from working with immigration officials to help arrest and deport people living here illegally.

Trump seized on reports last week of the proposal that sought to send migrants already detained to Democratic locations or transport migrants that have just crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to sanctuary cities.

Sanders said the idea would be to spread out the number of migrants so the strain would not be on "one or two border communities."

"The president likes the idea and Democrats have said they want these individuals into their communities so let's see if it works and everybody gets a win out of it," Sanders said. "Again, this is not the ideal situation."

Trump tweeted on Saturday evening that the U.S. had the "absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities."

But the plan had already been eschewed twice.

People with knowledge of the discussions say it was first brought to the Department of Homeland Security from White House staff in November, and was again discussed in February but was put down after DHS officials reviewed it and found it was too costly, a misuse of funds and would be too timely. The people were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

It actually could make it more difficult for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to arrest people facing deportation because sanctuary cities do not work with ICE.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University announced last week that an analysis found that immigrants in sanctuary cities are 20% less likely to be arrested out in the community than in cities without such policies.

Democrats criticized the White House proposal as a political stunt that used humans as pawns and would not work.

"Look, you can't threaten somebody with something they're not afraid of," said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state, a candidate for president. "And we are not afraid of diversity in the state of Washington. We relish it. It is the basis of our economic and cultural success. We're built as a state of immigrants."

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., questioned the legality of the proposal.

"This is again his manufactured chaos that he's created over the last two years on the border," Thompson said of Trump, adding Democrats were more than willing to sit down and talk about immigration legislation.

But Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said sanctuary cities showed contempt for the law, though he didn't know whether there were any legal concerns with transporting migrants to the locales.

"I mean, maybe he's just saying this to make everybody crazy," he said of Trump.

Sanders appears on ABC's "This Week" and "Fox News Sunday." Scott was on CNN's "State of the Union" and Inslee was on NBC's "Meet the Press." Thompson appeared on ABC.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. President Donald Trump meets with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in Washington. EVAN VUCCI  |  AP
    “It’s not between Turkey and the United States, like a lot of stupid people would like you to believe,” Trump said.
  2. Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, right, greet guests following the Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Westerville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    Twelve candidates entered Tuesday’s debate each with something to prove. Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar left the biggest mark, according to most analysts.
  3. In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, smoke billows from targets in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, caused by bombardment by Turkish forces, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Turkish artillery on Tuesday pounded suspected Syrian Kurdish positions near the town in northeast Syria amid reports that Kurdish fighters had retaken the town as Turkey pressed ahead with a military incursion that has drawn widespread condemnation. LEFTERIS PITARAKIS  |  AP
    Russia has moved quickly to further entrench its leadership role in the region after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the pullout of American forces in northeastern Syria.
  4. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, right, accompanied by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, speaks about the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    Speaker Nancy Pelosi, despite intensifying calls from Trump and Republicans to hold a formal vote to authorize the impeachment inquiry, showed no indication she would do so.
  5. Former White House advisor on Russia, Fiona Hill, leaves Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, after testifying before congressional lawmakers as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. MANUEL BALCE CENETA  |  AP
    The aide, Fiona Hill, testified for more than 10 hours on Monday as part of the Democrats’ impeachment probe into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
  6. In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, smoke and dust billows from targets in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, caused by bombardment by Turkish forces, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Turkish artillery on Tuesday pounded suspected Syrian Kurdish positions near the town in northeast Syria amid reports that Kurdish fighters had retaken the town as Turkey pressed ahead with a military incursion that has drawn widespread condemnation. CAVIT OZGUL         |  AP
    Russia moved quickly to further entrench its role as a power broker after President Donald Trump ordered the pullout of American forces in northeastern Syria.
  7. Former White House advisor on Russia, Fiona Hill, leaves Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, after testifying before congressional lawmakers as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. MANUEL BALCE CENETA  |  AP
    Fiona Hill made the remarks on Monday as she testified for more than 10 hours in the Democratic inquiry.
  8. A Turkish forces tank is driven to its new position after was transported by trucks, on a road towards the border with Syria in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. Syrian troops entered several northern towns and villages Monday, getting close to the Turkish border as Turkey's army and opposition forces backed by Ankara marched south in the same direction, raising concerns of a clash between the two sides as Turkey's invasion of northern Syria entered its sixth day. EMRAH GUREL  |  AP
    Trump said the approximately 1,000 U.S. troops who had been partnering with local Kurdish fighters to battle the Islamic State in northern Syria are leaving the country.
  9. The 12 Democratic presidential candidates in the next debate are, from top left, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, and, from lower left, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang. Los Angeles Times
    The field is still thick with 12 candidates set to debate Tuesday night. Here’s what to watch for.
  10. Amber Carr, center, wipes a tear as her sister, Ashley Carr, left, and attorney Lee Merritt, right, listen to their brother Adarius Carr talk about their sister, Atatiana Jefferson during a news conference Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 in downtown Dallas. The family of the 28-year-old black woman who was shot and killed by a white police officer in her Fort Worth home as she played video games with her 8-year-old nephew expressed outrage that the officer has not been arrested or fired. (Irwin Thompson/The Dallas Morning News via AP) AP
    The white, former Fort Worth police officer has been booked in jail on a murder charge for the shooting of a black woman through a window in her home.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement