'Not pawns': United States mayors decry Trump's sanctuary city threat

White House considered releasing detained immigrants into ‘sanctuary cities’

White House considered releasing detained immigrants into ‘sanctuary cities’

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday he is considering sending "illegal immigrants" to Democratic strongholds - just hours after White House and Homeland Security officials said the idea had been discussed and quickly rejected.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Sunday that the Trump administration was still considering whether to place some immigrants in so-called sanctuary cities.

The White House pitched the idea to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last November and again in February as the Trump administration struggled with a surge of migrants at the border, according to report.

Scott also told Tapper that "sanctuary cities are illegal" and that Democrats can not "pick and choose what laws you do".

"Sanctuary city" is a broad term applied to jurisdictions that have policies in place created to limit cooperation with or involvement in federal immigration enforcement actions.

Representative Bennie Thompson of MS, who chairs the House Homeland Security committee, said it "serves as a reminder that the Trump administration's reckless immigration agenda is not about keeping the country safe, but about partisan politics and wantonly inflicting cruelty". Ben McAdams, said, "Human lives should not become pawns in partisan political games".

A Homeland Security spokesperson played down the reported idea, saying it was "floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion".

Mayors of several sanctuary cities said Friday they would accept undocumented migrants. Cities, counties and some states have a range of informal policies as well as laws that qualify as "sanctuary" positions.

The idea of pressing immigration authorities to embrace the plan - which critics called an effort to use migrants as pawns to go after political opponents - was first reported in the Washington Post.

Transporting large groups of immigrants to distant cities would be even more expensive for an agency already strapped for cash. Some places like New York City and California have laws preventing the cooperation.

Durkan, however, said that while she is not concerned about more immigrants arriving in Seattle, she is anxious about the way the President is using a "law enforcement agency" as a weapon.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, didn't address Trump's proposal directly when asked for comment about it Friday.

"Following the president's tweet, I spoke with the Sergeant-at-Arms to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff", Pelosi said in a statement Sunday.

"The extent of this administration's cynicism and cruelty can not be overstated", spokesperson Ashley Etienne said for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a statement on Friday.

According to a 2015 Federal Bureau of Investigation crime data analysis report by Tom Wong, a professor of political science at the University of California at San Diego, sanctuary cities see 15 percent less crime than those deemed non-sanctuary cities.

"As the acting deputy, I was not pressured by anyone at the White House on this issue", he said in a statement.