Apr 13, 2019

Furious Trump targets Democratic "sanctuary cities"

Trucks line up at the port of entry from Mexicali, Mexico, to Calexico, Calif. (Mark Holtzman/West Coast Aerial Photography Inc. via AP)

President Trump is embracing increasingly extreme immigration ideas, in part because he is furious at his inability to get instant border results through executive fiat, top officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: Trump is drawn to maximalist, click-your-fingers ideas that can be legally dubious or outright illegal.

What's happening: After reporters uncovered a heated internal administration debate, Trump 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." "Sanctuary cities" shield migrants, limiting cooperation with deportation.

Be smart: This is not a plan. It's a Trump desire — and wishing it to happen won’t make it so.

Between the lines:

  • Reflecting Trump's behind-the-scenes rage, a senior White House official said: "This was one of the more unsurprising tweets ever."
  • The senior White House official acknowledged: "It's not going to happen because ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] can't do it. They don't have the cash and they can't ask for federal funds to do that."

Details, via The Washington Post:

  • "White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of 'sanctuary cities' to retaliate against ... political adversaries."
  • "Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district in San Francisco was among those the White House wanted to target ... The administration also considered releasing detainees in other Democratic strongholds."

The other side:

  • A senior administration official said the president was not "trolling," and seemed entirely serious about pursuing the idea.
  • The official said the administration had to work with state and local governments to "figure out the best way to relocate so many of these illegal aliens to various locations that claim they want this." 

The bottom line: Immigration lawyers tell Axios that in addition to there not being funds for this, there would be huge liabilities if anyone got hurt while being transferred.

  • Also, Trump would be essentially giving immigrants a free ride to places many of them would prefer to be anyway. 

Go deeper: Trump's hardline new border plan

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House passes bill to make lynching a federal hate crime

Photo: Aaron P. Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

The House voted 410-4 on Wednesday to pass legislation to designate lynching as a federal hate crime.

Why it matters: Congress has tried and failed for over 100 years to pass measures to make lynching a federal crime.

This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health