Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida, suggested that President Donald Trump’s increasingly controversial positions on immigration may have less to do with what the president sees as sound policy, and more to do with driving his opponents up the wall, CNN reports. Scott’s comments were made specifically in response to Trump’s recent proposal to relocate immigrants seeking asylum at the border to so-called “sanitary cities” around the country. The move is widely understood to be aimed at punishing Democrats politically, who are generally more in favor of the policies in such cities than their Republican counterparts.
“In California, the governor wants to have a lot of people coming in, refugees coming in, a lot of sanctuary cities, so we’ll give them to the sanctuary cities maybe to take care of if it’s that the way we want it,” Trump said, as part of an event taking place at the White House.
Scott responded to the policy on CNN‘s State of the Union, in a discussion with host Jake Tapper.
“I don’t know whether it’s legal or illegal. I mean, maybe he’s just saying this to make everybody crazy. Make everybody talk about it on their shows,” he said in his exchange with Tapper. “But what I do know is I’ve been up there — I’ve been in the Senate for 90 days, we’re not securing our border. We’re not enforcing our laws.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 14, 2019
In addition, Scott took the opportunity to reinforce traditional Republican positions on the sanctuary cities in general, arguing that the entire concept is illegal and that politicians can’t simply decide which laws to follow and which to disregard.
Generally speaking, an area designated as a sanctuary city simple avoids looking into and investigating the citizenship status of its residents. The idea is to encourage more openness and cooperation with law enforcement by creating an environment where immigrants — including those who lack proper documentation or came into the country illegally — feel comfortable coming forward and working with police in everyday matters.
The senator went on to express that the United States, as a country, does not want illegal immigration and that lawmakers, as well as the American people, have grown frustrated with the lack of legislative action when it comes to these issues.
According to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, the administration is no longer considering the idea of relocating detained immigrants to sanctuary cities.