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 NadlerPoll: Majority wants Trump out, but not through impeachment Second Democrat representing Trump district backs impeachment GOP memo deflects some gun questions to 'violence from the left' MORE (D-N.Y.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsGOP Oversight report says Interior head met with group tied to former clients Nadler asks other House chairs to provide records that would help panel in making impeachment decision Nikki Haley voices 'complete support' for Pence MORE (D-Md.) and Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonPelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment DHS cyber agency to prioritize election security, Chinese threats Trump officials unveil rule allowing indefinite migrant family detentions 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 MulvaneyTrump's latest plan to undermine Social Security Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Dick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report MORE and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan for all communications regarding the plan, which has been endorsed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham: America must 'accept the pain that comes in standing up to China' Weld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump New data challenges Trump's economic narrative MORE.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 CorreaMembers to have little time to question Mueller Steyer group targeting 12 congressional Democrats over impeachment Dems demand documents on Trump 'sanctuary city' plan 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.