The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump's top aides were considering an idea to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detained migrants into sanctuary cities represented by Democrats. The idea first surfaced in November, as a migrant caravan neared the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to the Times, deputy White House policy coordinator May Davis suggested the move in a Nov. 16 email to officials with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. The proposal was rejected by ICE officials who responded that such a plan would put "an unnecessary operational burden" on the agency.
The idea resurfaced in February, but the proposal died after "ICE's legal department rejected the idea as inappropriate and rebuffed the administration," according to The Washington Post.
Sanctuary cities are places where local authorities do not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, denying information or resources that would help ICE round up people living in the country illegally.
They include New York City and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco. Pelosi on Friday 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.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.