President Trump's top aides say a controversial plan to send migrants to sanctuary cities remains an option.
The idea first came up several months ago in discussions among the president's aides. It was initially rejected after lawyers for the Department of Homeland Security said it was illegal.
But with Central American migrants flooding across the US southern border, the ongoing border crisis is showing no signs of letting up, and there's been no progress on immigration reform from Congress.
"We are looking at all options as long as Democrats continue to ignore the crisis at the border, as long as Democrats refuse to sit down with the president," said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
"They want more people in their sanctuary cities, well, we'll give them more people," Trump said.
And he tweeted Saturday that the US has the absolute legal right to take illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities.
Just out: The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities. We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known or its poor management & high taxes!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2019
Top aides say it's not the best option, but they're willing to consider anything.
"The president likes the idea and Democrats have said they want these individuals into their communities so let's see if it works and everybody gets a win out of it," Sanders said. "Again, this is not the ideal situation."
Sanders said it's time for Congress to work with the president on a comprehensive plan to overhaul the US immigration system. And Trump tweeted again Monday morning, "Congress should come back to D.C. now and FIX THE IMMIGRATION LAWS!"
Congress should come back to D.C. now and FIX THE IMMIGRATION LAWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019
The White House says the goal is to keep border towns from being overwhelmed by the strain of caring for so many sudden arrivals. Democrats say it's just a political stunt, accusing the White House of trying to use migrants as pawns.
Meanwhile, some mayors of sanctuary cities say they'd welcome the migrants. Sanctuary cities, including New York and San Francisco, refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in detaining and deporting people living there illegally.