State and local officials say they would “welcome” the flood of illegal immigrant detainees that President Trump says he is thinking about releasing into sanctuary cities.

“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump tweeted. “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy — so this should make them very happy!”

The tweet came hours after the White House and Homeland Security officials insisted the idea had been rejected.

Boston, Cambridge and Somerville are a few of the cities around the state that have adopted sanctuary policies, limiting cooperation with federal immigration officials.

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone called Trump’s tweet a “headline grab” from an “unserious president.”

“What we need is really thoughtful and humane policy and reform to the immigration system in this country,” Curtatone told the Herald, “not the vilification of immigrants and sanctuary cities that we continue to have from Donald Trump and his cronies.”

When asked if Somerville could handle an influx of thousands of illegal immigrants, Curtatone replied that Trump is a “windbag who talks a lot of nonsense” and would need to grant asylum to migrants first.

“Legally, if they’re going to grant those people asylum, then they’re free to go wherever they want,” he added.

Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern called Trump “a schoolyard bully who tries to intimidate and threaten people. I’m not intimidated, and if asylum seekers find their way to Cambridge, we’ll welcome them.”

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley said in a statement she is “proud” that her district includes multiple sanctuary cities, adding, “The Trump Administration continues to be guided by boisterous statements and racist policy … We’d welcome with open arms those seeking asylum.”

Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, countered that Trump is, in essence, telling politicians to “put their money where their mouth is.”

“The president clearly appreciates the irony that the politicians who promote sanctuary policies are insulated from their effects and that these politicians don’t seem to understand or care about the effects on their constituents, who live in these communities and bear the brunt of the effect,” Vaughan said.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said, “This is President Trump playing politics with people’s lives and doing his best to distract people from the fact that his administration is not working for them, that the things he promised are not happening. He hopes that if he can stir up a little more hatred and division, then maybe people won’t notice — but he’s wrong.”

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey tweeted, “Trump’s plan to release migrants into ‘enemy’ cities as if they are some kind of contagion is reprehensible. Trump is obsessed with the border and sanctuary cities because he only wins by dividing people. We need to stand united for the rights of immigrants because they are human beings, not political pawns. Congress must investigate, hold hearings, and hold accountable those who proposed this horrific and illegal course of action.”

Joe Dwinell contributed to this report


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