Democrats Fight Trump Promise of More Migrants for Sanctuary Cities

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Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images
NEIL MUNRO

Democrats are declaring that the law prevents President Donald Trump from implementing his Monday promise to transport Central American migrants into Democrat-run “sanctuary cities.”

On Monday, Trump said the migrants may be shuttled from the border into the Democrats’ sanctuary cities:

In response to Trump’s policy, Democrats vaguely claimed that the DHS agency does not have the legal authority to bus the migrants into the neighborhoods of the Democrats’ voters.

But in a letter sent to the White House by three top Democrats, the legislators did not explain why it would be illegal for the administration to deliver migrants to sanctuary cities, especially if the migrants asked to be sent there. The letter briefly declared:

Not only does the Administration lack the legal authority to transfer detainees in this manner, it is shocking that the President and senior Administration officials are even considering manipulating release decisions for purely political reasons.

The letter was signed by the chairman of the Judiciary, Oversight, and Homeland Security committees, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, and Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson.

The migrants are crossing the border, and are the being released because of loopholes created and maintained by Democrats. Roughly 100,000 migrants crossed in March, and one million are expected in the 12 months up to November. Democrats say the migrants need to be aided because they are fleeing crime, but many migrants say they prefer living in the United States. Kens5.com TV reported from El Paso:

Sara Polato traveled with her 6-year-old son, Anthony El Salvador. She said she didn’t know it would be easy to cross the border. It was so easy for her that she didn’t realize she had already made it to the U.S.

Minutes later, [Border Patrol agent Jose] Romero spotted three more people who had just crossed over. Among them, 29-year-old Jessica Maldonado of Honduras who is five months pregnant. Maldonado said it took her four months to make it to the border.

She said it is her biggest wish to give birth in the U.S.

Trump’s directive leaves the policy choice to the leaders at the Department of Homeland Security, following the departure of secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. That ambivalent stance leaves him with a political issue to lash the Democrats and the political opportunity to bus migrants into Democrats’ electoral districts once his agency official formally weighs the legal options.

In February, Democrats added $114 million to the agency budget for transporting migrants. But the funds can only be spent delivering migrants into shelters capable of accepting the migrants:

Within the $114,147,000 increase above the fiscal year 2018 funding level for the Transportation and Removal Program, ICE is directed to provide for the transportation of migrants to such shelters based on where collaborating organizations have open sheltering capacity, including during surge periods.

The Democrats’ letter said:

We are deeply troubled by multiple reports, recently confirmed by the President, that the Trump Administration is considering releasing detained immigrants into congressional districts represented by Democrats in a bizarre and unlawful attempt to score political points.

we learned that the plan appears to have been specifically designed to target Democratic districts: “[t]he White House told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the plan … served to send a message to Democrats: and that a person familiar with the plan suggested “that releasing the immigrants into the sanctuary cities would be a way of punishing Democrats for resisting budget requests for more money to detain undocumented immigrants.”

Several Democrat Mayors also say they welcome the extra migrants, who will nudge down wages and nudge up rental prices. The DailyBeast.com reported:

“The city would be prepared to welcome these immigrants just as we have embraced our immigrant communities for decades,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney told The Daily Beast in a statement. “This White House plan demonstrates the utter contempt that the Trump administration has for basic human dignity and the core values on which this nation was founded.”

“As a welcoming city, we would welcome these migrants with open arms, just as we welcomed Syrian refugees, just as we welcomed Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria and just as we welcome Rohingya refugees fleeing genocide in Myanmar,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement.

“I am proud that Cambridge is a sanctuary city,” Mayor Marc McGovern of Cambridge, Massachusetts, told The Daily Beast. “Trump is a schoolyard bully who tries to intimidate and threaten people. I’m not intimidated and if asylum seekers find their way to Cambridge, we’ll welcome them.”

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