In retaliation for Democrats’ failure to support his plans to build a southern border wall, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed twice, in November and February, that government agencies transport and release detained immigrants in so-called sanctuary cites, according to an account first reported by The Washington Post.
Sanctuary cities are municipalities where local laws protect undocumented immigrants from deportation or prosecution, despite federal immigration law.
CNN reported that a source had confirmed to them that the Trump administration pressured the Department of Homeland Security to release immigrants detained at the southern border in the sanctuary cities.
The Post report said in retribution for lawmakers’ unwillingness to authorize money to build the wall, the White House wanted to release detained immigrants in “Democratic strongholds,” including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home district in San Francisco, California.
According to the account, the White House told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security that the plan “was intended to alleviate a shortage of detention space but also served to send a message to Democrats.”
The newspaper reports that ICE lawyers rejected the White House plan “as inappropriate and rebuffed the administration.”
Both agencies have told The Post that the plan is “no longer under consideration.”
Ashley Etienne, a Pelosi spokeswoman, told the newspaper, “The extent of this administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated.”She added, “Using human beings, including little children, as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable.”