President Trump announced on Friday that he intended to release immigrant detainees into Sanctuary cities.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded with a fiery statement.
A scuttled White House proposal to release immigrant detainees in San Francisco and other sanctuary cities triggered a fierce backlash Friday from Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose office called the idea “despicable.”
The Washington Post first reported that the White House proposed sending the detainees to sanctuary cities, including Pelosi's district, twice in the last six months. The proposal was first floated in November amid reports of a large migrant caravan from Central America making its way to the southern border. The idea was again considered in February, amid the standoff with Congress over a border wall
“The extent of this Administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne said in a statement Friday. “Using human beings—including little children—as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable, and in some cases, criminal.”
She added: “The American people have resoundingly rejected this Administration’s toxic anti-immigrant policies, and Democrats will continue to advance immigration policies that keep us safe and honor our values.”
Officials stressed that the plan never went anywhere.
A source familiar with the discussions also told Fox News that Democrats who advocate leniency toward illegal immigrants should work with the administration to find ways to transport those set for release, including in their states and districts.
The proposal was apparently rejected both times it came up by immigration agencies.
A Nov. 16 email from the White House to officials at several agencies reportedly asked whether migrants could be arrested and bused to “small-and mid-sized sanctuary cities” and other Democratic strongholds. Pelosi’s district in San Francisco was considered one of the areas targeted, according to The Post.
The proposal was intended to alleviate crowded detention centers, the White House told Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The same report said "the attempt at political retribution raised alarm within ICE." An ICE official responded, noting that there were budgetary and liability issues, but also said “there are PR risks as well.”
The source familiar with the discussions argued, however, that the White House did not view this as political retribution.
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