President Donald Trump claimed over the weekend that he had the legal right to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities while calling for that to happen.
“Just out: The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities. We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known or its poor management & high taxes!” Trump wrote.
Earlier that day, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said the administration was working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to try to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities.
“They have said they wanted all of these illegal aliens into their communities,” he told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro.
“We’re working with DHS, we’re working with ICE, to try and make sure that happens because, after all, it’s what they want. They should not say, ‘This is retribution politically.’ They should say, ‘This is an olive branch’,” Gidley added.
He also noted that before President Trump wrote his tweet, the White House was looking into whether it had the legal power to send these immigrants to sanctuary cities, saying “we’re trying to figure out if we can do that legally.”
After reports emerged last week that the President was considering the possibility, Democrats opposed the policy, calling it immoral and illegal. Some have even suggested White House immigration adviser Stephen Miller should testify before congressional committees regarding his role in recent policy controversies.
“Steve Miller, who seems to be the boss of everybody on immigration, ought to come before Congress and explain some of these policies,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler in an interview.
According to a congressional investigator, it was Miller’s idea to release undocumented immigrants to these cities, but “nobody else” in the administration agreed to carrying it out, The Washington Post reported.
“It’s clear that he’s the one pulling the strings,” said Representative Kathleen Rice. “And if he’s going to continue advocating for these policies and personnel changes, then he needs to come before the American people and explain himself. He has to be held accountable.”