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Sarah Sanders Pushes 'Sanctuary Cities' Policy, While Democrats Want Answers from Stephen Miller
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15 Apr 2019 01:13 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Stephen Miller (Image source: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

 

There's been some confusion about the status of Donald Trump's "sanctuary cities" policy. It was reported that Trump wanted former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to put the policy into play and that her refusal was one reason she was forced to retire. It was denied by officials last week, then the president insisted it was still an option, and now officials are agreeing.  

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) is suggesting they bring in senior policy adviser Stephen Miller to question him, as he seems to be at the center of much of this. He is rumored to be behind the shakeup in the DHS and the policy.

 

The "sanctuary cities" policy would dump detained migrants into areas that limit their cooperation with federal immigration, protecting the migrants. Trump is considering this in retaliation for the Democrats pushing back on his other immigration policies. 

On Sunday White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week" that the administration was "looking to see if there are options" to put the policy into play and referred to it as an "option on the table."

 

"Certainly this wouldn't be our first choice because ideally we wouldn't be dealing with the massive influx of illegal immigrants coming across the border," she explained. 

"The president likes the idea, and Democrats have said they want these individuals in their communities," Sanders continued. "So let's see if it works, and everybody gets a win out of it."

 

"We don't want to put all of the burden on one or two border communities, and Democrats have stated time and time again they support open borders, they support sanctuary cities," she said. 

"So let's spread out some of that burden and let's put it in some of those other locations, if that's what they want to see happen and are refusing to actually help fix the problem."

 

Additionally, Trump tweeted on Saturday evening that the government has the "absolute legal right" to put this proposal into play.  

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway spoke with Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press" and added that it's up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's caucus to come up with a solution to "both a security crisis and a humanitarian crisis" at the border.

 

"We have an unserious Congress that is not coming to the table," she said. "And the Republicans failed to do their job when they were in charge, no doubt. The Democrats now are failing to come together in the House." 

House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) put the blame right back on the Republicans, explaining they can't do much because of the number of high-level vacancies at the DHS with Nielsen leaving, along with Immigration and Customs Enforcement nominee Ronald Vitiello and DHS Acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady after Trump cleaned house.

 

"We're kind of in a rudderless situation," said Thompson. 

It's believed that Trump cleaned house in this manner at the direction of Miller, the top adviser on immigration. He was also behind the sanctuary cities policy.

 

"We heard several weeks ago from whistleblowers that Steve Miller came up with this before we heard about it from any other source," explained Nadler to Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union." 

"Probably Steve Miller, who seems to be the boss of everybody on immigration, ought to come before Congress and explain some of these policies," he added.

 

House Homeland Security subcommittee Chairwoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY) would like to see Miller in the hot seat as well. She wants him to testify before her panel to "make his case for these terrible policies to the American people instead of being this shadow puppeteer." 

"It's clear he's the one pulling the strings," she added. "And if he's going to continue advocating for these policies and personnel changes, then he needs to come before the American people and explain himself. He has to be held accountable."

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