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Dems demand documents on Trump 'sanctuary city' plan

Three top Democrats wrote Trump administration officials on Monday asking for documentation on the White House plan to shuttle detained migrants to so-called sanctuary cities.

Reps. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerThis week: Congress races to wrap work for the year Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE (D-N.Y.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsVoters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? 'Kamala' and 'Kobe' surge in popularity among baby names MORE (D-Md.) and Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonDangerously fast slaughter speeds are putting animals, people at greater risk during COVID-19 crisis House Democrats subpoena private prison operator in forced hysterectomy case Trump relents as GSA informs Biden transition to begin MORE (D-Miss.), chairmen of the House Judiciary, Oversight and Reform and Homeland Security committees, respectively, asked acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyMick Mulvaney 'concerned' by Giuliani role in Trump election case On The Money: Senate releases spending bills, setting up talks for December deal | McConnell pushing for 'highly targeted' COVID deal | CFPB vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency Consumer bureau vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency MORE and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan for all communications regarding the plan, which has been endorsed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE.

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"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," wrote the chairmen.

"These reports are alarming. 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," they added.

White House officials twice floated the idea of sending Central American asylum seekers to "sanctuary cities" as a form of political retribution against Democrats, The Washington Post reported last week.

Administration officials first downplayed the report, which was based on information from whistleblowers and official emails, but Trump over the weekend doubled down on the idea.

"Those Illegal Immigrants who can no longer be legally held (Congress must fix the laws and loopholes) will be, subject to Homeland Security, given to Sanctuary Cities and States!" Trump tweeted Monday.

U.S. border security officials have been forced to release migrants as the number of border crossings and apprehensions of family units seeking asylum have risen dramatically over the past three months.

The White House has used the crisis to argue against humanitarian regulations that limit how long minors can be detained, among other measures, saying Congress must act to change those laws and regulations or face an onslaught of illegal immigration.

Democrats vowed last week to investigate the White House over the plan to shuttle immigrants to sanctuary jurisdictions, which do cooperate with federal immigration authorities, although the plan has not been put in place.

"This reflects how much policymakers at the highest level of a government don't understand what they're dealing with," said Rep. Lou CorreaJose (Lou) Luis CorreaCriminalization that never should have been: Cannabis Man arrested, charged with threatening to attack Muslims in Germany Gloves come off as Democrats fight for House seat in California MORE (D-Calif.) Friday. "When they say they're going to punish 'sanctuary states,' don't they understand these workers are needed in this economy?"

The three House chairmen who penned Monday's letter wrote that the Trump proposal "appears to have been specifically designed to target Democratic districts."

"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," wrote the chairmen.

--This report was updated at 12:38 p.m.