DHS chief says agency not transporting migrants to sanctuary cities

DHS chief says agency not transporting migrants to sanctuary cities
© Greg Nash

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan confirmed Sunday that his agency is not intentionally moving migrants to sanctuary cities. 

“Our transportation is based on necessity and capacity to process safely, so that’s what we’re doing," McAleenan said on CBS's "Face The Nation" when asked if migrants were specifically being transported to the cities that that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.  

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“So no is the answer to the question,” host Margaret Brennan asked.

“Correct,” McAleenan responded.

The Washington Post first reported last month that Trump administration officials had floated the idea releasing thousands of detainees in sanctuary cities to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which refused to comply.

Later in April, President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE took credit for the plan, calling it his "sick idea," and saying it was already happening.

The issue of transporting migrants that need to be processed came to the forefront on this week when officials in Florida announced DHS would be flying hundreds of migrants to two counties in the state, both Democratic strongholds. There was a backlash from local and state officials that ended with federal authorities saying on Saturday there was no such plan in place.

McAleenan on Sunday did say that some migrants end up in sanctuary cities.

“We have sent flights to California, California is a sanctuary state by law, so that’s technically correct," he explained.

“Immigrants that are released in the U.S. are going to sanctuary cities because that’s a magnet, they’re providing incentive to come live in those areas."