Trump tried to dump asylum-seekers in sanctuary cities to 'retaliate against political adversaries'
A pair of White House “principals”—a term that here clearly means Donald Trump and Stephen Miller—have what they think is an ultra-clever solution to the immigration crisis. Rather than hold asylum-seekers at the border, they want to load them on trucks, bring them to sanctuary cities, and dump them onto the streets. Not because that would be a good solution to the immigration crisis, but because it would “retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries.” Trump was apparently particularly keen on the idea of taking busloads of immigrants and dropping them onto the streets of Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco.
According to the Washington Post, those “officials” have brought this plan to the Department of Homeland Security not once, but twice—including once during the government shutdown Trump engineered before he signed on to the funding agreement and promptly wrecked it with his declaration of a national emergency at the border. Even among the Trump-appointed leaders of DHS and ICE, the plan to use thousands of human beings as a political attack letter sounded alarms. When the White House pressed the plan, the legal team at ICE pushed back.
It’s not clear if the refusal to follow through on leaving cities to deal with the issue that DHS is given a $74 billion budget to cover was the issue that drove a wedge between Donald Trump and former stalwart defender of child separation Kristjen Nielsen, but it was definitely a point of friction between Miller and immigration officials.
Miller personally brought the proposal to the deputy director of ICE, Matthew Albence, according to two DHS officials who spoke with the Post. Albence has acknowledged that the conversation took place. Again, this is a senior White House adviser pressing the deputy director of ICE to take human beings applying for asylum and drop them onto the streets of American cities as a means of punishing political opponents.
And now Stephen Miller is heading up a purge and restructuring of the department that turned down his proposal to weaponize immigrants.