New York, NY — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Friday that he would house transplanted migrants into Trump properties around the city. Other sanctuary cities around the country said they’d be open to the same actions.
“It’s clear this President doesn’t care about the rule of law, so why should anyone else,” said Mayor de Blasio in what went from a playground tit-for-tat with Mr. Trump to an actionable threat. “We have identified many of the properties to place Central American asylum seekers and plan on installing them. We can take upwards of 14,000 migrants. So bring it on.”
As previously reported, President Trump proposed sending migrants to sanctuary cities. “Sanctuary city” is not a legal term but a now politically charged phrase used to describe cities, counties, states that don’t fully comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts. White House administration officials said the idea had been “floated and rejected.”
But in a series of tweets since then, the president said the administration is still “giving strong considerations” to the idea.
The New York City Housing Authority (NYHA) confirmed that Mayor de Blasio requested to “find places for migrants to live” and to “concentrate efforts on Trump establishments.” According to NYHA, they are targeting Trump Parc, Trump Palace, Trump Park Avenue, Trump Palace, Trump Tower, and 610 Park Avenue, which is owned by Trump’s children in a trust.
“The plan is to place migrants in these in vacant apartments and flats,” said NYHA spokesperson Bethany Millbright. “If we run out of empties, we’ll consider public places. We’re looking at The Met [The Metropolitan Museum of Art] and putting up temporary housing in Central Park. If we run out of space there, we’ll start evicting Trump property residents.”
Legal Scholars Weigh-In
Legal scholars say this action by New York City is illegal in many dimensions. However, they also said that President Trump’s proposal is also unlawful.
“Homeland security dollars are supposed to be used to protect national security, not go after your political opponents,” said Kerri Talbot, an attorney and federal advocacy director for the advocacy group the Immigration Hub.
Others suggested that it wouldn’t make it past the first round in the courts.
Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, dismissed the idea as “an absurd non-starter.”
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot says immigrants are welcome.
Sanctuary Cities Support Migrants in Trump Properties
“We have people who are routinely coming to this city. We have a whole infrastructure that’s built up to make sure that their rights are protected while the city of Chicago has, under the current administration, provided funding for various groups to help support asylum seekers and other people who are going through the immigration court system. I expect it will continue, if not expand upon, those kinds of resources,” said Mayor Lightfoot during a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper late this week.
When prompted about occupying Trump properties in the Windy City, Ms. Lightfoot grinned.
“We’re looking into that.”
It’s unclear if President Trump’s is serious about his proposal, or he’s just trying to score political points with his strident base. However, legal experts believe that it has zero chance of succeeding, which leads politicos to assume that he’s just trying to inflame his base. He also is forecasting his 2020 reelection platform of division and fear.