President Donald Trump says he "looks closely" at the idea of ​​transporting migrants to so-called sanctuaries that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities. (April 12)

WASHINGTON – A host of logistical and legal hurdles await President Donald Trump if he continues to threaten to place migrants arriving at the border into so-called sanctuary cities, ostensibly to punish Democrats who refuse to support his policies immigration.

This idea is not only unrealistic and is an abuse of government resources, experts said, but it is also illegal.

"Homeland security money is supposed to be used to protect national security and not to attack your political opponents," said Kerri Talbot, lawyer and federal director of advocacy for the Immigration Defense Group Center.

Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants' Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, called the idea of ​​"a good idea." "Absurd non-parting".

President Donald Trump (Photo: The associated press)

Trump said Friday that his administration "paid a lot of attention" to a proposal by place migrants in sanctuary cities "because of the fact that Democrats are not willing to alter our very dangerous immigration laws".

Trump confirmed the proposal – first on Twitter, then in remarks to reporters – the day after the report released by the Washington Post, the White House tried to pressure the immigration authorities for that they liberate captured immigrants in sanctuary cities, targeting especially liberal fortresses in the hope of harming democrats.

Sanctuary jurisdictions, in which local authorities limit cooperation with federal immigration agents, have been the Conservatives' target for years. Some voices on the right applauded Trump's idea on Friday, saying that communities hosting illegal immigrants in the country should be able to accept them in large numbers directly from the border.

"Excellent suggestion," said Twitter on Twitter Heather Higgins, Chair of the Conservative Forum of Independent Women. "The sanctuary cities should walk their talk."

But California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and other Democrats have rejected the idea.

"Donald Trump's use of government power to carry out corrupt and vindictive operations smells of Watergate," said Becerra, a former California congressman. "This is a sobering reminder that our country only has the strength of our democratic institutions and the rule of law."

The mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, rejected the idea, calling it a "simple tactic of fear" and insisted that his city would continue "to make proposals to support our immigrant communities."

More: Sanctuary towns for illegal immigrants? Here is what you need to know

Legal experts have warned that any attempt to implement a plan similar to the one that Trump had envisioned would violate the Hatch Act, a federal law of 1939 prohibiting employees of the executive branch from participating in certain types of business. 39, political activities at the government time or use the public authorities. resources for political purposes.

Trump's publications on Twitter and his comments leave no doubt that the rationale for the proposal is political, Talbot said.

But "he can not use federal funds to create a program whose purpose is political, just to embarrass other federal officials," she said.

While presidents are generally exempt from the provisions of the Hatch Act, White House officials or Department of Homeland Security employees charged with implementing such a proposal could potentially be charged with breaking the law, Talbot said. .


According to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, gathering immigrants and sending them to sanctuary cities is "disrespectful". The California Democrat has been questioned about reports that the White House has planned to send immigrants to sanctuary towns. (April 12)

More: "A new level of inhumanity": Democrats denounce idea of ​​the White House to liberate migrants in sanctuary cities

Another legal hurdle to such a proposal could come from Congress, which has not allowed the administration to spend federal funds for the type of program described by Trump.

Federal immigration agencies routinely transfer immigrants from one institution to another to address capacity issues, said John Sandweg, former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Obama administration. But these transfers are justified by capacity issues and not by a political message, said Sandweg.

"This is not why Congress has approved this money," he said.

Homeland Security's lawyers expressed concern over the proposal when it was introduced earlier this year.

"It is incredibly telling that DHS lawyers themselves have raised these concerns," said Carlos Guevara, a former Homeland Security lawyer who now works for UnidosUS, a Washington-based civil rights organization.

More: Trump's advisors tell him to go ahead with immigration, even though the courts have silenced him

"There are very strong ethical considerations when political actors … direct the use of resources to make political statements," Guevara said.

Kamal Essaheb of the National Immigration Law Center said the proposal resembled another attempt by the Trump administration to financially punish sanctuary towns for their refusal to enforce immigration laws.

"I do not know how real it is," said Essaheb, the center's director of policy and outreach. But, "it's using people as political pawns. We are talking about human beings – with children, families, aspirations and hopes.

"Think about the most extreme, unrealistic, impractical and inhumane idea and say that you're going to do it solely for political ends – for me it's the most worrying thing here."

More: Arrests at the border reached their highest level in 12 years in March, while Trump promises a tougher leadership

More: Migrants cross the border and make their way from Guatemala to Mexico and head for the US border

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