Congress

Trump, Trump administration not on same page on forced sanctuary city migrations

U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the Oval Office on April 11. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Someone in the Trump administration might want to tell President Donald Trump what the Trump administration is, or is not, doing on immigration. 

Despite a couple of days’ worth of statements from officials in the Homeland Security Department that the administration is not considering taking recently arrived migrants to so-called sanctuary cities to send a message to congressional Democrats, the president said Friday the administration is “strongly looking at” sending “thousands” to so-called “sanctuary cities.”

“Well, you know, the people that are putting sanctuary cities ... in California and other places ... always seem to have open arms,” Trump said, “so we thought rather than moving the illegal immigrants to other parts of the country,” they could be sent to the Golden State and other ones with cities that limit how much they cooperate with the federal government on immigration matters.

The Washington Post first reported Thursday that the White House was considering again releasing undocumented migrants only into the so-called “sanctuary cities.” Senior officials earlier Friday contended it was not a retaliation against congressional Democrats who have opposed the president’s hardline immigration proposals.

ICYMI: Temporary Protected Status, explained

Trump confirmed the policy is getting “strong considerations” within his administration in a midday Friday tweet, saying he might make the move because congressional Democrats “are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws.”

After Trump’s tweets, the Post quoted an anonymous Department of Homeland Security official who said DHS had no plans to put the proposal into practice, but notably “the official requested anonymity to contradict the president.”

High profile officials did not apparently want to go on the record about the situation.

After leaving a luncheon speech at the Metropolitan Club in downtown Washington, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has already announced his imminent departure from government service, declined to comment on whether the Justice Department has ruled whether such a policy would be legal.

Before Trump tweeted confirmation of the Post story, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about it during the closing press conference of the retreat.

“I don’t know anything about it, but again it is just another notion that is unworthy of the presidency of the United States,” the California Democrat said. 

To a later question about Democrats’ response to the situation at the border, Pelosi said, “We all know we need to secure the border. We don’t need any lectures or tantrums from the president on that score.” 

“What we do need to do is sit down and have comprehensive immigration reform,” she said, noting she’s glad McConnell has said he’s willing to do that.

Trump’s Friday remarks came at an event on expanding high-speed bandwidth to rural areas.

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