Just hours after the White House released a statement saying it was not considering a plan to dump detained illegal immigrants into sanctuary cities, Donald Trump took to Twitter to say the exact opposite — saying they were giving “strong consideration” to the idea.
Now Trump’s wholehearted defense of the policy is garnering a new round of criticism from those across the political spectrum.
The plan was first reported in The Washington Post on Thursday. The publication noted that, on two occasions in recent months, the Trump administration had raised the idea of taking undocumented immigrants and busing them to sanctuary cities. The plan would be to punish Trump’s perceived opponents — he has frequently railed against the idea of cities that offer some levels of protection to undocumented immigrants — and would have seen said illegal immigrants sent to Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco.
Though the report initially drew something of a rebuke from the White House — which noted that it was no longer an idea in consideration — Trump’s recent statement made it clear that it is still on the table, The Inquisitr noted.
“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 posted on Twitter. “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”
Trump doubled down on that threat later in the day, confirming that the plan was meant to put pressure on Democrats to “change immigration laws” by bringing immigrants to their cities.
Trump threatens that if Dems don't change immigration laws, "we'll bring the illegals – I call them the illegals – we'll bring them to sanctuary cities & let that particular area take care of it… we can give them an unlimited supply… let's see if they have open arms." pic.twitter.com/7mnxOQoa2o
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 12, 2019
With Donald Trump openly supporting the idea, many have come out against what they say would be an unconstitutional policy aimed at hurting illegal immigrants. Veteran journalist Dan Rather said there was “rightful outrage” at the idea, and took a dig at Trump for his past practice of hiring illegal immigrants to work at his resorts.
There's rightful outrage at the cruel plan to send immigrant detainees to somehow attack President Trump's political opponents in so-called sanctuary cities. But judging from past practices, perhaps Mr. Trump just wanted a pool of workers closer to his properties.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) April 12, 2019
Onetime ally Ann Coulter also took a dig at Trump, saying he would be unlikely to follow through on what she painted as an empty threat.
I.Q. Test: What is the one thing we know will NOT happen at any time in the future?
Answer: The Trump administration will place Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only. https://t.co/WuoARNLMNq
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 12, 2019
Others questioned the legality of such a plan, and noted that it would seem a purposeful waste of resources in order to launch a politically motivated attack.
Now that Trump has endorsed dumping migrants into sanctuary cities for the express purpose of pressuring public officials to do his bidding, here's a brief explainer on what's wrong with the idea:https://t.co/IW9YeX9IXQ pic.twitter.com/kFioc7BS7E
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) April 12, 2019
Donald Trump has not offered any further details about how this plan might be carried out, or what group of undocumented immigrants might be sent. Those who cross the border and present themselves to seek asylum are not considered illegal immigrants, critics note, so it would not be clear what authority the administration would have to force them to go to a specific city.