Mayors across the country challenge Trump's proposal on sanctuary cities

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Tensions are rising between President Donald Trump and his political foes over developments at the southern border.

The president is pushing an idea to release undocumented immigrants into so-called sanctuary cities.

Mayors are challenging Trump's proposal to bus migrants from detention centers to the sanctuary cities.

Several days earlier, the White House had said the idea was 'floated and rejected'.

But that was contradicted by the president. "We are looking at the possibilities. Strongly looking to be honest with you," he said.

The Trump administration has long pushed back against cities with sanctuary policies, which generally prohibit local authorities to cooperate with federal immigration police, often by refusing to hold people arrested on local charges past their release date at the request of immigration officers.

Over 100 local governments around the country have adopted a variety of these polices.

"New York City will always be the ultimate city of immigrants - the President's empty threats won't change that," New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio said in a statement.

Chicago's incoming mayor Lori Lightfoot said they will welcome migrants.

"We're going to do everything we can to make sure people who come to the city, whatever their immigration status is, will be treated fairly and with respect," she said.

The plan would put thousands of immigrants in cities that are not only welcoming to them, but also more likely to rebuff federal officials carrying out deportation orders.

Many of these locations have more resources to help immigrants make their legal cases to stay in the United States than smaller cities, with some of the nation's biggest immigration advocacy groups based in places like San Francisco, New York City and Chicago. The downside for the immigrants would be a high cost of living in the cities.

(The Associated Press contribued to this report.)

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