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Trump Says He’s Considering Releasing Immigrants into Sanctuary Cities

President Trump arrives to speak at the National Republican Congressional Committee Annual Spring Dinner in Washington, D.C., April 2, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

President Trump on Friday said that he is “giving strong considerations” to releasing immigrants detained at the border into sanctuary cities, one day after the administration insisted that the idea had already been considered and abandoned.

The proposal was reportedly considered by the White House twice before, first in November as a caravan traveled north toward the border, and again in February as Democrats butted heads with Trump over funding for his long-promised border wall. It was said to have ultimately been rejected by DHS lawyers, who argued that it would violate the law. But after a purge of DHS leadership this week that Trump said was designed to make the department “tougher” on immigration, he abruptly changed course Friday, reviving the idea.

The president’s statement comes as the number of border apprehensions continues to skyrocket. The number of individuals apprehended between ports of entry was 92,607 last month, up from 66,884 in February. That included 8,975 unaccompanied children, a record 53,077 family units, and 30,555 single adults. The influx has widely been described, by administration officials and outside experts, as a “crisis.”

Acting secretary of defense Patrick Shanahan said Friday that he expects a formal request soon for more military support at the border, where approximately 3,000 active duty and 2,000 National Guard service-members are currently assigned, according to a Pentagon spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis.

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