Sun, Apr 14, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Trump says he could transport detained illegal immigrants to ‘sanctuary cities’

AFP, WASHINGTON

US President Donald Trump on Friday said that he is seriously considering funneling detained illegal migrants into the self-declared “sanctuary cities” that oppose his tough immigration policies.

Trump’s announcement on Twitter reversed a previous White House assurance that the idea — criticized as political retribution against cities led by opposition Democrats — had been dropped.

“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,” Trump wrote.

“The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy -- so this should make them very happy!” he added.

The Washington Post revealed the proposal, which would mark a new flashpoint in the ever-growing political divide over immigration.

Trump has staked his presidency on his insistence that the US is being overrun by migrants and asylum seekers.

However, opponents, mostly in the Democratic Party, have said that his push for building more walls on the Mexican border and his almost daily denunciations of migrants as dangerous criminals incite racial hatred.

In comments to reporters later, Trump said that he wanted the US Congress, where the US House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats, to tighten visas and streamline the deportation process.

Otherwise he would order migrants to be transported to the sanctuary cities, he said.

“If they don’t agree we might as well do what they say they want.... We’ll bring them to sanctuary city areas and let that particular area take care of it,” he said. “We can give them an unlimited supply.”

Late on Friday, he reiterated his call for a “merit-based” immigration system.

“If the Radical Left Democrats all of a sudden don’t want the Illegal Migrants in their Sanctuary Cities (no more open arms), why should others be expected to take them into their communities?” he said on Twitter.

Sanctuary cities are places where local authorities — usually Democratic-run — have refused to hand over undocumented immigrants for deportation.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed dismissed Trump’s proposal.

“This is just another in a long line of scare tactics and half-baked ideas that are just about chasing headlines and distracting people from real issues,” she said on Twitter.

Citing US Department of Homeland Security officials and leaked e-mails, the Post said that White House officials first broached the plan in November last year, asking several agencies whether members of a caravan of migrants could be arrested at the border and then bussed “to small and mid-sized sanctuary cities.”

The White House told the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that the plan was intended to alleviate a shortage of detention space, but would also send a message to Democrats, the Post said.

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