UPDATE: President Trump on Friday confirmed the Washington Post‘s reporting, tweeting that the administration is currently giving “strong considerations” to transporting detained migrants to sanctuary cities, a proposal Immigration and Customs Enforcement has already rejected twice.
….The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2019
Original post below.
President Trump’s supporters have tried to own the libs by destroying their own property. President Trump has tried to do it by destroying America’s reputation, most recently through a vengeful, nonsensical proposal that not even Immigration and Customs Enforcement could rationalize implementing.
On Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration tried to convince authorities to release detained migrants onto the streets of “sanctuary cities.” The White House considered the potential action a means of getting back at Democrats who have refused to cow to his demands regarding immigration policy. Not only does the move underscore the administration’s belief that migrants are a scourge on the United States, it implies the White House thinks Democrats agree.
According to Homeland Security officials, the administration wanted to target the Bay Area district of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), as well as other Democrat-controlled districts that have instituted measures to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. Pelosi’s office was dismayed. “The extent of this administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” spokeswoman Ashley Etienne told the Post. “Using human beings — including little children — as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable.”
Former DHS official explained to me the thinking behind Trump bussing plan:
“Why release [migrants] into Yuma or Phoenix when you can release them in San Francisco where they want them?”https://t.co/18xbpVXXg6
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) April 12, 2019
The Trump administration reportedly sought to release migrants into sanctuary cities on two occasions. First, after the midterm elections in November, when it asked multiple agencies whether migrants heading north in a caravan could be arrested and transported to sanctuary cities. ICE was reportedly alarmed by the idea, which they rejected. The request was made again in February, the month Trump declared a national emergency in order to secure funding for a border wall. It was again rejected by ICE, which didn’t take the proposal seriously until the White House forced them to bring in legal advisers to assess its feasibility.
Earlier this month, Trump rescinded the nomination of Ron Vitiello to become the new head of ICE, saying that he wanted to take the agency in a “tougher direction.” On Thursday, it was reported that the president picked Matthew Albence to take over the agency following Vitiello’s resignation as acting director. Albence may be best known for an appearance before Congress last summer in which he said that the detention facilities holding migrants at the border were “more like a summer camp,” citing “access to 24-7 food and water” as a luxury.
Though the Post notes that Albence “immediately questioned” releasing migrants into sanctuary cities when it was proposed last November, a former ICE official told Buzzfeed News that he “will be very willing to follow through on implementation” of the administration’s immigration agenda now that he is leading the agency.
In a statement given to the Post, the White House downplayed the move, saying that it “was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion.” What mind could concoct an idea so perverse and vindictive that it made ICE bristle? You guessed it. “It was basically an idea that [Stephen] Miller wanted that nobody else wanted to carry out,” a congressional investigator who learned of the plan told the Post. “Stephen Miller called people at ICE, said if they’re going to cut funding, you’ve got to make sure you’re releasing people in Pelosi’s district and other congressional districts.”
It’s also now plainly true that the Trump administration — through its family separation policy and now this proposal to drop immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities — has quite literally looked at the physical bodies of immigrants as a means of carrying out hardline policies.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) April 12, 2019
Transporting arrested migrants into cities controlled by Democrats is only the latest example of the Trump administration’s square-peg-round-hole approach to immigration. Instituting a family separation policy to deter migrants didn’t work. Congress won’t fund a border wall. While visiting Calexico, California last week, the president reportedly instructed border agents to break the law by refusing to allow migrants to seek asylum after crossing the border. Earlier this week, he forced Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen to resign because she wouldn’t break the law and re-institute “large-scale” family separation.
As the Post pointed out on Thursday, federal courts have issued at least 25 separate rulings to block the administration’s efforts to stem immigration, the latest coming last Friday when U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg thwarted Trump’s plan to force asylum-seeking migrants to wait in Mexico as their claims are processed. “A 9th Circuit Judge just ruled that Mexico is too dangerous for migrants,” Trump tweeted in response. “So unfair to the U.S. OUT OF CONTROL!”
His plan to somehow stick it to Democrats by transporting migrants into cities they control having failed — at least for now — it appears that Twitter is the only reliable place Trump can take out his migrant-fueled frustration on the opposing party. “I think what the Democrats are doing with the Border is TREASONOUS,” he wrote on Wednesday. “Their Open Border mindset is putting our Country at risk. Will not let this happen!”
This post has been updated.