The Trump administration was heavily criticized last week after the Washington Post revealed top White House aides have floated a policy that would ship illegal immigrants to so-called "sanctuary cities" while U.S. authorities process their asylum requests.
On Friday, President Donald Trump confirmed he is considering enacting the policy, saying over the weekend he has the "absolute right" to do so. Meanwhile, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley revealed on Fox News Saturday the White House is actively discussing the policy with officials at Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
But the policy could have unintended blowback for the Trump administration, working against its immigration agenda instead of advancing it.
What are the details?
Though details about the policy are scarce, a new report from the Associated Press highlights how the policy would likely backfire on the White House by helping more illegal immigrants receive the resources they need to remain in the U.S. longer and legally.
In fact, if the president were to enact the policy, most migrants shipped to sanctuary cities, which are overwhelmingly progressive metropolises, would not fear deportation or law enforcement. Instead, their biggest concern would likely be the high cost-of-living associated with most cities.
The AP spoke to immigrant Wilson Romero, who came to the U.S. illegally from Honduras last year. He lives with his mother in San Jose, California, and his 7-year-old daughter attends public school.
More from the AP:
Romero says he goes about daily errands in public without worry of discrimination. His daughter has made friends and has playdates with the children of Mexican American families. It's a far cry from his hometown in the violence-plagued outskirts of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, that he fled after his brother-in-law was killed.
To him, the biggest problem with being in the Bay Area is the high cost of living. The former textile factory worker relies on his mother's income from waitressing for food and clothing, and he's started thinking about asking legal permission to move to North Carolina, where an uncle resides and says it's cheaper to live and work.
Indeed, most often, the best resources for immigrants, including non-profit organizations that provide effective legal services, are located in "sanctuary cities," where large populations of illegal immigrants already live.
Will the president implement the policy?
Although White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reiterated Sunday the policy is one of many the administration is currently considering to alleviate stress at the border, she said the plan is not the administration's "first option."
Meanwhile, many logistical concerns surround the policy. Who will pay to transport the migrants to sanctuary cities? How would the migrants be stopped from leaving the cities and settling in other areas? As the AP noted, migrants are conditionally required to provide authorities with an address before they are released from custody, but what, then, is the point of sending them to sanctuary cities if they will remain in custody?
It's clear the policy, at least right now, is more about politicking than providing a genuine solution to the border crisis.