Senate Dem: Trump 'using immigrants as pawns'

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinProposed bipartisan kidney legislation takes on kidney disease epidemic in America Lawmakers raise security concerns about China building NYC subway cars House votes to boost retirement savings MORE (D-Md.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE is "using immigrants as pawns" with his proposal to send migrants to sanctuary cities.

Cardin, appearing on "Fox News Sunday," also said Trump is more interested "in preserving a political issue" ahead of the 2020 election than he is in finding a solution on immigration.

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“My understanding is it’s not legal. There’s no budget for that purpose. This is clearly a political move for the president. He’s using immigrants as pawns in his political game of chess. He’s not really interested in a solution. He’s more interested in preserving a political issue for the 2020 election," Cardin said. 

The Washington Post reported last Thursday that the White House previously proposed the idea, which was reportedly shot down by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

But Trump said in a pair of tweets Friday that the administration is giving "strong consideration" to the idea.

"Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only," he wrote on Twitter.

He tweeted late Sunday that the ”USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities.”

“We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known or its poor management & high taxes!” he added.