A day after White House and Homeland Security officials said it wouldn't happen, President Trump confirmed that he's thinking about releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities. "We are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only," Trump tweeted Friday. At least twice in the past six months, White House officials had asked agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement whether migrants due to be released in towns on the southern border could be bused to sanctuary cities and released. On Thursday, a White House official had told the Washington Post the plan "was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion." ICE must release immigrants under a deportation order if their native country won't let them return; the Supreme Court has ruled that they can't be held here indefinitely.
Trump blamed Democrats who "are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws"; the idea is to drop off migrants in Democratic districts such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi's. "It's just another notion that is unworthy of the presidency of the United States," she said, per NPR, "and disrespectful of the challenges that we face as a country, as a people, to address who we are: a nation of immigrants." Sanctuary policies, which began in part with churches in the 1980s, generally limit a government's cooperation with federal officials on immigration enforcement, per CNN. President Obama praised his administration's deportation record. But the Post reports that immigrant advocates say such efforts cause serious damage to trust between police and immigrant communities, endangering public safety. (Read more sanctuary cities stories.)