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

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTrump adviser presses House investigators to make Bezos testify Nadler demands answers from Barr on 'new channel' for receiving Ukraine info from Giuliani Trump predicts Ocasio-Cortez will launch primary bid against Schumer MORE (D-N.Y.) excoriated President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press 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 NielsenActing DHS secretary says he expects Russia to attempt to interfere in 2020 elections House Homeland Security rip DHS's 'unacceptable' failure to comply with subpoena Trump puts Kushner in charge of overseeing border wall construction: report 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 PelosiMalaysia says it will choose 5G partners based on own standards, not US recommendations Pelosi warns allies against using Huawei Budget hawks frustrated by 2020 politics in entitlement reform fight MORE (D-Calif.) said Friday.

“If it’s true, it is very unfortunate and to be condemned,” House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerPelosi's staff huddles with aides in both parties on 'surprise' medical billing House panel approves bill to grant DC statehood Democrats bullish on bill to create women's history museum: 'It's an election year' 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.