Earlier this week, a report indicated that the White House "sought to punish Democrats by capturing, transporting, and then releasing undocumented immigrants into sanctuary cities such as San Francisco." The policy suggestion came from Stephen Miller, one of President Donald Trump's closest advisers, but the White House denied that members of the Trump administration had entertained the idea.
But in a tweet, the president confirmed that the White House is "giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities," blaming Democrats who he says have been "unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws."
In a follow-up tweet, the president claimed the "Radical Left" should be "happy" with the policy.
Condemnation rained down on the president.
Democrats have rebuked the White House in response to the proposal, which was apparently rejected both times it came up by administration immigration agencies.
“The extent of this Administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s spokeswoman Ashley Etienne said in a statement Friday.
Using human beings—including little children—as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable, and in some cases, criminal. The American people have resoundingly rejected this Administration’s toxic anti-immigrant policies, and Democrats will continue to advance immigration policies that keep us safe and honor our values.”
Speaking to reporters about the proposal, the president said: “We are looking at the possibility, strongly looking at it, to be honest with you."
Trump added the following when asked about what happens if Democrats do not agree to new immigration policies:
“We might as well do what they always say they want. We’ll bring them to sanctuary city areas and let that particular area take care of it. We can give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply."
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley added to this, saying Democrats "should work with the administration to welcome migrants into their districts," according to one report.
“Democrats say we must have open borders and that illegal immigrants have a right to be in this country at all costs," he said, “so they should be working with the administration to find the best ways to transport those illegal aliens that are already set for release, into communities in their districts and states.”
The president's comments about the White House proposal comes as news reports indicate that Trump told the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, he would pardon him if he were arrested as a result of blocking asylum seekers from entering the country.
"At no time has the President indicated, asked, directed or pressured the Acting Secretary to do anything illegal," a spokesperson with the Department of Homeland Security told CNN. "Nor would the Acting Secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law."