Nadler on new Trump 'sanctuary cities' plan: 'morally repugnant and probably illegal'

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTrump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta Nadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski' at hearing MORE (D-N.Y.) excoriated President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE over his proposal to send detained immigrants to “sanctuary cities” as a way to retaliate against Democrats, saying the move was immoral and likely illegal.

Though reports surfaced Thursday evening of White House officials dismissing the proposal, Trump confirmed Friday that the plan was indeed being considered.

The move comes as the president signals he is doubling down on his hard-line tendencies on immigration, most recently overseeing changes at the Department of Homeland Security that forced the departure of many of the agency’s upper echelon, including Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report Trump's family separation policy has taken US to 'lowest depth possible,' says former immigration lawyer Four heated moments from House hearing on conditions at border facilities MORE.

Top Democratic lawmakers have torched Trump over the "sanctuary city" proposal. Such cities are those that do not cooperate with federal immigration authors through information-sharing or detaining immigrants.

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“I don’t know anything about it, but again, it’s just another notion that is unworthy of the presidency of the United States and disrespectful of the challenges that we face as a county, as a people, to address who we are: a nation of immigrants,” Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump telling aides to look at potential spending cuts if he wins reelection: report Budget talks between White House, Pelosi spill into weekend Trump says he won't watch Mueller testimony MORE (D-Calif.) said Friday.

“If it’s true, it is very unfortunate and to be condemned,” House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe House Democrats who voted to kill impeachment effort Overnight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border House votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale MORE (D-Md.) echoed. “That you could use ICE — or any other federal agency — to penalize or to visit retribution for political reasons, that's not the act of a democratic government.” 

The Washington Post reported this week that acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Matthew Albence, then the acting deputy director of the agency, rejected a similar proposal in November. Department of Homeland Security officials also reportedly shut down the idea again in February.