WH of­fi­cial: Mi­grants to sanc­tu­ary cities not a top choice

Press sec­re­tary said the idea would be to spread out the num­ber of mi­grants, re­duc­ing im­pact to bor­der cities

The Maui News - - FRONT PAGE - By COLLEEN LONG The As­so­ci­ated Press

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump wants to ex­plore a twice-re­jected pro­posal to send mi­grants to “sanc­tu­ary cities,” but that is not the pre­ferred so­lu­tion to fix the strain­ing im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem, the White House said Sun­day.

Press sec­re­tary Sarah San­ders said it was one of many op­tions, though she hoped Congress would work with the pres­i­dent on a com­pre­hen­sive im­mi­gra­tion overhaul.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is deal­ing with an ever-in­creas­ing num­ber of Cen­tral Amer­i­can mi­grants cross­ing the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der, an in­flux that has pushed the im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem to the break­ing point, ac­cord­ing to San­ders.

Laws make it hard to quickly re­turn Cen­tral Amer­i­cans, and many of them spend years in the U.S. wait­ing for their im­mi­gra­tion cases to play out. Oth­ers claim asy­lum and wait just as long, liv­ing and work­ing in the U.S. as they wait.

“Sanc­tu­ary cities” are mostly left-lean­ing places such as New York City and San Fran­cisco where laws pro­hibit lo­cal po­lice and cor­rec­tion of­fi­cers from work­ing with im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials to help ar­rest and de­port peo­ple liv­ing here il­le­gally.

Trump seized on re­ports last week of the pro­posal that sought to send mi­grants al­ready de­tained to Demo­cratic lo­ca­tions or trans­port mi­grants that have just crossed the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der to sanc­tu­ary cities.

San­ders said the idea would be to spread out the num­ber of mi­grants so the strain would not be on “one or two bor­der com­mu­ni­ties.”

“The pres­i­dent likes the idea and Democrats have said they want th­ese in­di­vid­u­als into their com­mu­ni­ties so let’s see if it works and every­body gets a win out of it,” San­ders said. “Again, this is not the ideal sit­u­a­tion.”

Trump tweeted Satur­day evening that the U.S. had the “ab­so­lute le­gal right to have ap­pre­hended il­le­gal

im­mi­grants trans­ferred to Sanc­tu­ary Cities.”

But the plan had al­ready been es­chewed twice.

Peo­ple with knowl­edge of the dis­cus­sions say it was first brought to the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity from White House staff in Novem­ber, and was again dis­cussed in Fe­bru­ary but was put down af­ter DHS of­fi­cials re­viewed it and found it was too costly, a mis­use of funds and would be too timely. The peo­ple were not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

It ac­tu­ally could make it more dif­fi­cult for Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment of­fi­cers to ar­rest peo­ple fac­ing de­por­ta­tion be­cause sanc­tu­ary cities do not work with ICE.

The Trans­ac­tional Records Ac­cess Clear­ing­house at Syra­cuse Univer­sity an­nounced last week that an anal­y­sis found that im­mi­grants in sanc­tu­ary cities are 20 per­cent less likely to be ar­rested out in the com­mu­nity than in cities with­out such poli­cies.

Democrats crit­i­cized the White House pro­posal as a po­lit­i­cal stunt that used hu­mans as pawns and would not work.

“Look, you can’t threaten some­body with some­thing they’re not afraid of,” said Gov. Jay Inslee of Wash­ing­ton state, a can­di­date for pres­i­dent. “And we are not afraid of di­ver­sity in the state of Wash­ing­ton. We rel­ish it. It is the ba­sis of our eco­nomic and cul­tural suc­cess. We’re built as a state of im­mi­grants.”

The chair­man of the House Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee, Rep. Ben­nie Thomp­son, D-Miss., ques­tioned the le­gal­ity of the pro­posal.

“This is again his man­u­fac­tured chaos that he’s cre­ated over the last two years on the bor­der,” Thomp­son said of Trump, adding Democrats were more than will­ing to sit down and talk about im­mi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion.

But Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said sanc­tu­ary cities showed con­tempt for the law, though he didn’t know whether there were any le­gal con­cerns with trans­port­ing mi­grants to the lo­cales.

“I mean, maybe he’s just say­ing this to make every­body crazy,” he said of Trump.

San­ders ap­pears on ABC’s “This Week” and “Fox News Sun­day.” Scott was on CNN’s “State of the Union” and Inslee was on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Thomp­son ap­peared on ABC.

AP file photo

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump par­tic­i­pates in an April 5 round­table on im­mi­gra­tion and bor­der se­cu­rity at the U.S. Bor­der Pa­trol Calex­ico Sta­tion in Calex­ico, Calif. Trump said Fri­day he is con­sid­er­ing sending “Il­le­gal Im­mi­grants” to Demo­cratic strongholds to pun­ish them for in­ac­tion — just hours af­ter White House and Home­land Se­cu­rity of­fi­cials in­sisted the idea was dead on ar­rival.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.