Friday April 19, 2019
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Trump Considers Sending Detained Illegal Migrants to Sanctuary Cities

Trump made the announcement hours after White House and Homeland Security officials insisted the idea had been rejected

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FILE - President Donald Trump speaks about sanctuary cities with law enforcement officers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, in Washington, March 20, 2018. On April 12, 2019, Trump said he was considering sending detained illegal migrants to sanctuary cities. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that he was considering sending detained illegal migrants to so-called sanctuary cities, which oppose his tough immigration policies.

Trump made the announcement hours after White House and Homeland Security officials insisted the idea had been rejected.

He told reporters at the White House that his administration was “strongly looking at the possibly.”

Earlier Friday, he tweeted, “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.”

“The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy — so this should make them very happy!” he added.

Sanctuary cities are local jurisdictions — often run by Democrats — that have refused to hand over illegal immigrants to federal authorities for possible deportation.

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FILE – In this June 20, 2018, photo, protesters demonstrate outside the federal courthouse in Sacramento, Calif., where a judge heard arguments over the U.S. Justice Department’s request to block three California laws that extend protections to people in the country illegally. Sacramento is a sanctuary city. VOA

Offer of pardon?

In another development Friday, CNN reported that Trump told the head of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, that he would pardon him if he were sent to jail for denying U.S. entry to migrants. CNN cited two unnamed officials who said Trump made the offer during a visit to the border town of Calexico, California.

Trump has since named McAleenan the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, following the resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Friday: “At no time has the president indicated, asked, directed or pressured the acting secretary to do anything illegal. Nor would the Acting Secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law.”

Sending a message

The White House proposal to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities was first reported by The Washington Post.

According to the Post, the White House told Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the plan would alleviate a shortage of detention space, as well as send a message to Democrats.

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FILE – Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney speaks during a news conference in Philadelphia, Nov. 15, 2017. VOA

The Post said a White House official and a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said the proposal was no longer under consideration.

Revelation of the proposal drew criticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as other Democrats.

In remarks to reporters Friday, Pelosi called the idea “unworthy of the presidency of the United States and disrespectful of the challenges that we face as a country, as a people, to address who we are — a nation of immigrants.”

Pelosi’s hometown of San Francisco is a sanctuary city. Mayors of several sanctuary cities said Friday they would accept undocumented migrants.

ALSO READ: Wall on New York’s Ellis Island Honors Immigrants is Almost Full

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement, “While the Trump administration’s proposal shows their disdain to basic human dignity, the City (Philadelphia) would be prepared to welcome these immigrants just as we have embraced our immigrant communities for decades.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “We would welcome these migrants with open arms, just as we welcomed Syrian refugees, just as we welcomed Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria and just as we welcome Rohingya refugees fleeing genocide in Myanmar.” (VOA)

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Nancy Pelosi Calls on Trump to Take Down Omar Video Tweet

Pelosi said officials will continue to monitor and assess threats against Omar, and called on Trump to discourage such behavior

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FILE - Rep. Ilhan Omar arrives before NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a Joint Meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. VOA

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she has taken steps to ensure the safety of Rep. Ilhan Omar after President Donald Trump’s retweet of a video that purports to show the Minnesota Democrat being dismissive of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The California Democrat also called on Trump to take down the video. Soon after her public request, the video was no longer pinned atop Trump’s Twitter feed, but it was not deleted.

Pelosi was among Democrats who had criticized Trump over the tweet, with some accusing him of trying to incite violence against the Muslim lawmaker. An upstate New York man recently was charged with making death threats against her.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended Trump earlier Sunday, saying the president has a duty to highlight Omar’s history of making comments that others deem anti-Semitic or otherwise offensive and that he wished no “ill will” upon the first-term lawmaker.

Pelosi issued a statement while traveling in London saying she had spoken with congressional authorities “to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff.”

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. VOA

Pelosi said officials will continue to monitor and assess threats against Omar, and called on Trump to discourage such behavior.

Pelosi was among Democrats who had criticized Trump over the tweet, with some accusing him of trying to incite violence against the Muslim lawmaker. An upstate New York man recently was charged with making death threats against her.

“The President’s words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger,” Pelosi said. “President Trump must take down his disrespectful and dangerous video.”

The video in Trump’s tweet on Friday included a snippet from a recent speech Omar gave to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in which she described the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center as “some people did something,” along with news footage of the hijacked airplanes hitting the Twin Towers. Trump captioned his tweet with: “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!”

Critics accuse Omar of being flippant in describing the perpetrators of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. She later sought to defend herself by tweeting a quote from President George W. Bush, in which the Republican president referred to the attackers as “people” just days after 9/11.

Neither Trump’s tweet nor the video included Omar’s full quote or the context of her comments, which were about Muslims feeling that their civil liberties had eroded after the attacks. The tweet was posted atop Trump’s Twitter feed for much of Sunday, with more than 9 million views. It remained lower in the feed after Pelosi requested that the video be pulled.

Sanders questioned why Democrats weren’t following Trump’s example and calling out Omar, too. Democrats who criticized the president over the tweet defended Omar, with some noting their past disagreements with her.

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The tweet was posted atop Trump’s Twitter feed for much of Sunday, with more than 9 million views. It remained lower in the feed after Pelosi requested that the video be pulled. VOA

“Certainly the president is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone, but the president is absolutely and should be calling out the congresswoman for her — not only one time — but history of anti-Semitic comments,” Sanders said. “The bigger question is why aren’t Democrats doing the same thing? It’s absolutely abhorrent the comments that she continues to make and has made and they look the other way.”

Omar repeatedly has pushed fellow Democrats into uncomfortable territory with comments about Israel and the strength of the Jewish state’s influence in Washington. She apologized for suggesting that lawmakers support Israel for pay and said she isn’t criticizing Jews. But she refused to take back a tweet in which she suggested American supporters of Israel “pledge allegiance” to a foreign country.

ALSO READ: Trump Sends Undocumented Migrants to Sanctuary Cities

Rep. Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat who represents Manhattan’s financial district, which was targeted on 9/11, said he had no issues with Omar’s characterization of the attack.

“I have had some problems with some of her other remarks, but not — but not with that one,” he said. Sanders commented on “Fox News Sunday” and ABC’s “This Week.” Nadler appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union. (VOA)