In a late night tweet on Saturday, President Donald Trump declared he had the “absolute legal right” to release detained undocumented immigrants into so-called sanctuary cities, and demanded that his request be fulfilled.
“Just out,” Trump tweeted, announcing the alleged legal right to send the immigrants into cities that refuse to enforce his administration’s immigration policies.
“We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level,” he added. “Especially by the State of California, which is well known or [sic] its poor management & high taxes!”
Trump didn’t provide further proof of this “legal right.” HuffPost reached out to the White House for further comment but got no immediate response.
Trump’s announcement came after he posted a series of tweets earlier Saturday night in response to reports that he was strongly considering sending released undocumented immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities as a form of retaliation against the municipalities.
Trump confirmed that he had those plans in mind, even though a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson told HuffPost on Thursday that the proposal was only a suggestion that had been rejected.
In his earlier rant, Trump claimed that the mayor of Oakland, California, was not willing to receive the undocumented immigrants he had earlier threatened to release into the city.
That claim appears to be false. In an interview with National Public Radio on Saturday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said quite the opposite.
When asked by NPR whether she would welcome buses filled with 5,000 immigrants coming to the city next week, Schaaf confirmed that she would.
“I always say, welcome to Oakland,” the mayor told NPR.
“But this is much less about immigration or sanctuary. This is about an outrageous abuse of power,” Schaaf added, criticizing Trump using his presidential power to retaliate against cities such as Oakland who refuse to comply with his immigration policies.
NPR pushed Schaaf on the issue again, asking the mayor to clarify whether she’d “welcome more migrants” into Oakland.
“I said yes,” Schaaf replied. “Oakland welcomes all people.”
Trump on Saturday also aired his apparent frustration over a New York Times report that suggested the president privately told a border enforcement official that he would pardon him from convictions on any illegal acts if the official closed the southwestern border to incoming migrants.
According to the reports, Trump urged Kevin McAleenan, now the acting head of the Homeland Security Department, to close the southern border to immigrants and guaranteed McAleenan that he would be pardoned if he broke any law by fulfilling the president’s request.
Trump denied that he offered the pardon or ordered the border closure in his Saturday tweets before turning his attention to so-called sanctuary cities and Democrats who oppose his immigration policies.
In a public statement, the Department of Homeland Security also denied that Trump “indicated, asked, directed or pressured” McAleenan to do anything illegal.