Trump administration officials proposed moving migrants to “sanctuary cities” as retaliation against Democrats, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Members of the administration reportedly proposed transporting detained immigrants to the cities at least twice in the past six months, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials and email messages reviewed by the Post.
The transfer was suggested in November as a migrant caravan was approaching the border and again in February as Trump and congressional Democrats battled over Trump’s proposed border wall.
The California district for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who publicly blocked Trump’s demands, was targeted by the White House as an area in which migrants would be released.
The plan was reportedly first proposed in a Nov. 16 email, which asked officials at several agencies whether members of the caravan could be arrested at the border and then bused “to small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities.”
Sanctuary cities are places where local authorities refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement agencies.
The White House reportedly told Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that the move could send a message to Democrats.
The requested raised alarms at ICE, and a top official responded that the plan raised budgetary and liability concerns, noting that “there are PR risks as well,” according to the Post.