President Donald Trump on Thursday said he was considering pulling federal immigration enforcement agents out of California because of the state's so-called 'sanctuary policies.'
“Frankly, it’s a disgrace, the sanctuary city situation,” Trump said at the White House. "Frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you'd have a crime mess like you've never seen in California," Trump said. "All I'd have to say is ICE and Border Patrol, let California alone, you'd be inundated, you would see crime like nobody's seen in this country."
"And you know what? I'm thinking about doing it!"
The threat comes a week after a five-day sweep in California by ICE agents arrested more than 200 illegal immigrants and targeted 122 businesses in Southern California.
Trump made the threat during remarks made at a White House event on school safety. He began with stories about the Salvadoran gang MS-13.
"These are absolutely animals, these aren't human beings, these are animals," Trump said.
The Trump administration and Republican lawmakers have been battling with California as they limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The Justice Department sent letters last month to more than two dozen cities, counties and states from California to New York asking them to prove they're sharing information about people who are in the country illegally or risk losing funding for public-safety grants.
California became a sanctuary state last October after Governor Jerry Brown signed a series of laws that prevented local law enforcement from using resources to identify people in the country illegally.
The Trump administration says the laws are necessary to maintain public safety.