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 NadlerMcConnell locks in schedule for start of impeachment trial Pelosi: Trump's impeachment 'cannot be erased' House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate MORE (D-N.Y.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsGOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Pelosi taps Virginia Democrat for key post on economic panel Democratic challenger on Van Drew's party switch: 'He betrayed our community' MORE (D-Md.) and Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonHillicon Valley: Trump turns up heat on Apple over gunman's phone | Mnuchin says Huawei won't be 'chess piece' in trade talks | Dems seek briefing on Iranian cyber threats | Buttigieg loses cyber chief House Democrats request briefings on Iranian cyber threats from DHS, FCC Democrats sound election security alarm after Russia's Burisma hack 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 MulvaneyCollins says she's 'likely' to support calling witnesses for impeachment trial Schumer doesn't rule out calling Parnas to testify in impeachment trial Paul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump MORE and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan for all communications regarding the plan, which has been endorsed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president 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 CorreaLA Mayor Eric Garcetti endorses Biden Democrat makes case for impeachment in Spanish during House floor debate Democrats reach cusp of impeachment 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.