Three top Democrats wrote Trump administration officials on Monday asking for documentation on the White House plan to shuttle detained migrants to so-called “sanctuary cities.”
Reps. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler wants ‘the boss of everybody’ Stephen Miller to testify before Congress Giuliani slams Nadler for ‘diarrhea of the mouth,’ ‘lack of judiciousness’ Grand jury material becomes key battle-line in Mueller report fight MORE (D-N.Y.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse Oversight chair plans to subpoena for 10 years of Trump financial records: report Oversight Republicans to chairman: Investigate Obama aides Overnight Energy: Greenhouse gas reductions slow in 2017 | Dems request more funds for Interior FOIA office | Europe turning to Russia for oil amid US sanctions MORE (D-Md.) and Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonTop Dem: Trump’s 9/11 tweet a ‘simplistic’ attack Homeland Security chairman sees no way Trump’s idea to transfer migrants to sanctuary cities is legal Watchdog: Custodial staff alleged sexual harassment in lawmakers’ offices MORE (D-Miss.), chairmen of the House Judiciary, Oversight and Homeland Security committees, respectively, asked acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump learns to love acting officials Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks Dems and the GOP agree: Nobody cares about the national debt MORE and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan for all communications regarding the plan, which has been endorsed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpOmar says she has faced increase in death threats since Trump tweet Trump rips into Pelosi after ‘puff piece’ ’60 Minutes’ interview Trump revived attacks on sanctuary cities to distract from Mueller report release: report MORE.
“We are deeply troubled by multiple reports, recently confirmed by the President, that the Trump Administration is considering releasing detained immigrants into congressional districts represented by Democrats in a bizarre and unlawful attempt to score political points,” wrote the chairmen.
“These reports are alarming. Not only does the Administration lack the legal authority to transfer detainees in this manner, it is shocking that the President and senior Administration officials are even considering manipulating release decisions for purely political reasons,” they added.
White House officials twice floated the idea of sending Central American asylum seekers to sanctuary cities as a form of political retribution against Democrats, The Washington Post reported last week.
Administration officials first downplayed the report, which was based on information from whistleblowers and official emails, but Trump over the weekend doubled down on the idea.
“Those Illegal Immigrants who can no longer be legally held (Congress must fix the laws and loopholes) will be, subject to Homeland Security, given to Sanctuary Cities and States!” Trump tweeted Monday.
Those Illegal Immigrants who can no longer be legally held (Congress must fix the laws and loopholes) will be, subject to Homeland Security, given to Sanctuary Cities and States!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019
U.S. border security officials have been forced to release migrants as the number of border crossings and apprehensions of family units seeking asylum have risen dramatically over the past three months.
The White House has used the crisis to argue against humanitarian regulations that limit how long minors can be detained, among other measures, saying Congress must act to change those laws and regulations or face an onslaught of illegal immigration.
Democrats vowed last week to investigate the White House over the plan to shuttle immigrants to sanctuary jurisdictions, which do not enforce federal immigration law, although the plan has not been put in place.
“This reflects how much policymakers at the highest level of a government don’t understand what they’re dealing with,” said Rep. Lou CorreaJose (Lou) Luis CorreaWasserman Schultz: ‘We need a President, not a comic book villain’ Trump proposal for ‘sanctuary cities’ infuriates Dems Moderate House Dems back balanced budget amendment MORE (D-Calif.) Friday. “When they say they’re going to punish sanctuary states, don’t they understand these workers are needed in this economy?”
The three House chairmen who penned Monday’s letter wrote that the Trump proposal “appears to have been specifically designed to target Democratic districts.”
“Not only does the Administration lack the legal authority to transfer detainees in this manner, it is shocking that the President and senior Administration officials are even considering manipulating release decisions for purely political reasons,” wrote the chairmen.
–This report was updated at 12:38 p.m.