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Trump Plan to Send Immigrants to Sanctuary Cities Could Benefit them

But Trump seemed ready to step up his fight with the cities, vowing to “give them an unlimited supply” of immigrants from the border

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FILE - Lydia Balderas, left, and Merced Leyua, right, join others as they protest against a new sanctuary cities bill outside the federal courthouse in San Antonio, June 26, 2017. VOA

An idea floated by President Donald Trump to send immigrants from the border to “sanctuary cities” to exact revenge on Democratic foes could end up doing the migrants a favor by placing them in locations that make it easier to put down roots and stay in the country.

The plan would put thousands of immigrants in cities that are not only welcoming to them, but also more likely to rebuff federal officials carrying out deportation orders. Many of these locations have more resources to help immigrants make their legal cases to stay in the United States than smaller cities, with some of the nation’s biggest immigration advocacy groups based in places like San Francisco, New York City and Chicago. The downside for the immigrants would be a high cost of living in the cities.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University announced this week that an analysis found that immigrants in sanctuary cities such as New York and Los Angeles are 20% less likely to be arrested out in the community than in cities without such policies.

“With immigrants being less likely to commit crimes than the U.S. born population, and with sanctuary jurisdictions being safer and more productive than non-sanctuary jurisdictions, the data damns this proposal as a politically motivated stunt that seeks to play politics with peoples’ lives,” said George Gascon, district attorney for San Francisco.

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President Donald Trump participates in a roundtable on immigration and border security at the U.S. Border Patrol Calexico Station in Calexico, Calif., April 5, 2019. VOA

Tens of thousands of immigrants

Trump has grown increasingly frustrated over the situation at the border, where tens of thousands of immigrant families are crossing each month, many to claim asylum. His administration has attempted several efforts to stop the flow and he recently shook up the top ranks of the Department of Homeland Security.

The idea to ship immigrants to Democratic strongholds was considered twice in recent months, but the White House and Department of Homeland Security said the plan had been rejected. But Trump said Friday he was still considering 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,” Trump tweeted. He added that, “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”

In California, needing work

Wilson Romero is an immigrant from Honduras who chose to settle in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Romero, 27, was separated from his daughter, now 7, by federal authorities at the U.S. border at El Paso, Texas, last year and jailed for three months before being released and making his way to live with his mother in San Jose, California. There he was reunited with his daughter, who attends public kindergarten.

Romero says he goes about daily errands in public without worry of discrimination. His daughter has made friends and has playdates with the children of Mexican American families. It’s a far cry from his hometown in the violence-plagued outskirts of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, that he fled after his brother-in-law was killed.

To him, the biggest problem with being in the Bay Area is the high cost of living. The former textile factory worker relies on his mother’s income from waitressing for food and clothing, and he’s started thinking about asking legal permission to move to North Carolina, where an uncle resides and says it’s cheaper to live and work.

“To tell the truth, it’s a little tight now, financially speaking,” said Romero, a former textile factory worker, who said he doesn’t know of any charities that may be willing to help.

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FILE – Families hoping to seek asylum in the United States wait on the bridge connecting Reynosa, Mexico, to Hidalgo, Texas, March 15, 2019. VOA

Legal, logistical issues

The plan discussed by Trump would also have financial, logistical and legal issues.

The transportation of immigrants who are arrested at the border to large and faraway cities would be burdensome and costly at a time when Immigration and Customs Enforcement is already stretched thin, having released more than 125,000 immigrants into the country pending their immigration court date since Dec. 21. They are currently being released mainly in border states.

Flights chartered by ICE cost about $7,785 per flight hour, according to the agency, and require multiple staffers, including an in-flight medical professional. The agency also uses commercial flights. Doing longer transports would increase liability for the agency, especially considering that many of the immigrants in its care are families with young children.

And despite the consideration given to releasing the immigrants on the streets to sanctuary cities, the Trump administration actually has plenty of jail space to detain families. As of April 11, the nation’s three facilities to detain immigrant families were nowhere near capacity, including a Pennsylvania facility housing only nine immigrants.

It’s also unclear how long the immigrants would stay in these cities because they are required to provide an address to federal authorities, typically of a family member, as a condition of their release.

“It’s illogical,” said Angela Chan, policy director and senior attorney with the San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus. “It’s just alarming that they are spending so much effort and so much time to engage in political theater.”

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The Trump administration has long pushed back against cities with sanctuary policies, which generally prohibit local authorities to cooperate with federal immigration police, often by refusing to hold people arrested on local charges past their release date at the request of immigration officers. More than 100 local governments around the country have adopted a variety of these policies.

“New York City will always be the ultimate city of immigrants, the president’s empty threats won’t change that,” New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio said in a statement. But Trump seemed ready to step up his fight with the cities, vowing to “give them an unlimited supply” of immigrants from the border. (VOA)

Next Story

U.S. President Donald Trump Vetoes Measure to End U..S Involvement in Yemen War

ump issued his first veto last month on legislation related to immigration. Trump had declared a national emergency so he could use more money to construct a border wall. Congress voted to block the emergency declaration and Trump vetoed that measure.

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Men inspect the site of an airstrike by Saudi-led coalition in Sanaa, Yemen, April 10, 2019. VOA

President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed a bill passed by Congress to end U.S. military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

In a break with the president, Congress voted for the first time earlier this month to invoke the War Powers Resolution to try to stop U.S. involvement in a foreign conflict.

The veto — the second in Trump’s presidency — was expected. Congress lacks the votes to override him.

“This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,” Trump wrote in explaining his veto.

Congress has grown uneasy with Trump’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia as he tries to further isolate Iran, a regional rival.

Many lawmakers also criticized the president for not condemning Saudi Arabia for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi who lived in the United States and had written critically about the kingdom. Khashoggi went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October and never came out. Intelligence agencies said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the killing.

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Congress has grown uneasy with Trump’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia as he tries to further isolate Iran, a regional rival. VOA

The U.S. provides billions of dollars of arms to the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. Members of Congress have expressed concern about the thousands of civilians killed in coalition airstrikes since the conflict began in 2014. The fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country also has left millions suffering from food and medical care shortages and has pushed the country to the brink of famine.

House approval of the resolution came earlier this month on a 247-175 vote. The Senate vote last month was 54-46.

Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, voted to end U.S. military assistance to the war, saying the humanitarian crisis in Yemen triggered “demands moral leadership.”

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump on Wednesday vetoed a bill passed by Congress to end U.S. military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. VOA

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, acknowledged the dire situation in Yemen for civilians, but spoke out in opposition to the bill. McCaul said it was an abuse of the War Powers Resolution and predicted it could disrupt U.S. security cooperation agreements with more than 100 countries.

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Trump issued his first veto last month on legislation related to immigration. Trump had declared a national emergency so he could use more money to construct a border wall. Congress voted to block the emergency declaration and Trump vetoed that measure. (VOA)