Responding to news that President Donald Trump’s administration was considering releasing detained immigrants into sanctuary cities, Sen. Corey Booker, D-N.J., said this weekend that the measure would make Americans “less safe.”
In the past, Booker has expressed staunchly pro-immigrant stances, such as when he said he would “fight anyone who wants to shut down this nation’s open arms” in 2015.
“We are a nation that has built our country on immigrants from Einstein to some of our greatest scientists have been people coming in,” he said in 2010.
The 2020 presidential candidate’s comments came during an interview with “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan.
Brennan asked Booker if he thought Trump’s proposal to bus immigrants into sanctuary cities might have been an “empty threat” meant to spark “friction” and “jumpstart an inactive Congress.”
“You say friction, I say he’s trying to pit Americans against each other and make us less safe,” Booker replied.
“So you take the threat seriously?” Brennan said.
“I take this: He is injecting fear into our country,” Booker said. “If he was looking to solve a problem, he wouldn’t be doing things to divide this country against ourself.”
“Beware of anybody that’s trying to tell you to be afraid in the strongest country in the world as opposed to showing our strength and our courage to find common sense solutions to this problem,” he added.
Some commenters were puzzled by the New Jersey senator’s remarks. “If it makes us less safe to have them here, then why are we letting them in?” wrote one Twitter user, whose comments echoed the remarks of conservatives critical of supposed pro-immigration Democrats’ expressions of outrage at the president’s proposal.
Liberal actress and activist Alyssa Milano was among those disturbed by Trump’s sanctuary city plan. “This is so sick and twisted,” she tweeted to her more than 3.5 million followers. “White House proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes.”
“Why is this so ‘sick and twisted’? You fight for them – you get them!” wrote one commenter in reply to Milano. “Remember? They are human beings, they deserve help, put your money where your mouth is and help them. Close to home, so you don’t even have to travel anywhere…”
Can somebody answer this please — if illegal immigrants commit less crimes, etc. why would it be scaring people and harmful to put them in sanctuary cities?
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) April 14, 2019
GOP National spokeswoman Liz Harrington dismissed the idea floated by some Democrats that Trump was “targeting his political opponents.
“He’s just asking the Democrats to live by their own values,” she said in a tweet. “Just like they aren’t brave enough to vote for their Green New Socialist Deal, they apparently do not want any more immigrants in their ‘sanctuary’ cities.”
On Friday Trump confirmed, a Washington Post report that revealed the White House had weighed a proposal that would have resulted in the release of immigrant detainees in San Francisco and other sanctuary cities.
According to the report, the Trump administration twice proposed sending the detainees to sanctuary cities, including those in Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s California district.
In a November email, the White House asked several agencies whether it would be possible to bus arrested migrants to “small-and mid-sized sanctuary cities.” Among other Democratic strongholds, Pelosi’s district in San Francisco was considered a target.