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 NadlerWatergate figure John Dean earns laughter for responses to GOP lawmakers The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by MAPRx - Nadler gets breakthrough deal with DOJ on Mueller docs The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by MAPRx - Nadler gets breakthrough deal with DOJ on Mueller docs MORE (D-N.Y.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse Democrats question DHS over using facial recognition tech on US citizens House Democrats question DHS over using facial recognition tech on US citizens Democrats lash out at Trump's bombshell remarks MORE (D-Md.) and Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonHillicon Valley: Lawmakers angered over Border Patrol breach | Senate Dems press FBI over Russian hacking response | Emails reportedly show Zuckerberg knew of Facebook's privacy issues | FCC looks to improve broadband mapping Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers angered over Border Patrol breach | Senate Dems press FBI over Russian hacking response | Emails reportedly show Zuckerberg knew of Facebook's privacy issues | FCC looks to improve broadband mapping Democrats grill FEMA over inflated payments for Hurricane Maria MORE (D-Miss.), chairmen of the House Judiciary, Oversight and Reform and Homeland Security committees, respectively, asked acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money: Pelosi says no debt ceiling hike until deal on spending caps | McConnell pressures White House to strike budget deal | Warren bill would wipe out billions in student debt | Senate passes IRS reform bill On The Money: Pelosi says no debt ceiling hike until deal on spending caps | McConnell pressures White House to strike budget deal | Warren bill would wipe out billions in student debt | Senate passes IRS reform bill New poll finds little GOP support for spending cuts to specific federal programs MORE and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan for all communications regarding the plan, which has been endorsed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants 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 CorreaSteyer group targeting 12 congressional Democrats over impeachment Dems demand documents on Trump 'sanctuary city' plan Wasserman Schultz: 'We need a President, not a comic book villain' 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.