The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Sunday that he didn’t see a legal way for the administration to implement a proposal to release undocumented immigrants into “sanctuary cities.”
“No, I don’t” see a legal way to do this, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.
He also accused President Donald Trump of having “manufactured chaos” at the border with his immigration policies.
“More importantly, this is again his manufactured chaos he’s created over the last two years on the border,” he said. “Before Donald Trump took office, we had a situation that was manageable. We had spikes, but it also went down, but what we have now is a constant pushing of the system so that it doesn’t work.”
Trump tweeted Saturday about the plan, claiming, without citing any evidence, that the federal government “has the absolute legal right” to transfer undocumented immigrants into “sanctuary cities” after they legally have to be released from detention.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told ABC News Saturday that the White House is reviewing a plan to bus migrants to these jurisdictions, but no formal request has been sent to the Department of Homeland Security yet.
So-called sanctuary cities — San Francisco, Chicago and New York are among those informally considered as such — do not cooperate with the federal government in complying with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests.
After the Washington Post broke the story about the plan on Thursday, reporting it had been considered twice in the past six months, which ABC News confirmed, Thompson said in a statement that Trump’s “reckless immigration agenda is not about keeping the country safe, but about partisan politics and wantonly inflicting cruelty.”
While a White House official had told ABC News that the plan “was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected,” the president contradicted that on Friday, tweeting that there was in fact a plan still being considered to transfer undocumented immigrants to “sanctuary cities.”