Haley vows to defund sanctuary cities if elected president in 2024

GOP presidential candidate and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley outlined her southern border policy at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, saying she would “defund sanctuary cities” if elected president.

“We will come and we will finally deal with the border,” Haley said in a “fair-side chat” with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. “First of all, we will make sure we defund sanctuary cities once and for all.”

So-called ‘sanctuary cities’ — municipalities with additional protections for undocumented immigrants — have been a popular target for Republicans for years.

Republican governors, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and fellow presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis (Fla.), have bused migrants from their states across the country to the cities, in a move that’s been criticized as vindictive politics.

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Haley, the former South Carolina governor, proposed taking back the additional federal budget allotted for the IRS and giving it to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to hire 25,000 new agents for the border. She also proposed re-implementing a Trump-era border policy — the Migrant Protection Protocols, but nicknamed “Remain in Mexico” — which the Biden administration has attempted to stop.

“We’ll go back to the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy because, guess what, no one wants to remain in Mexico,” Haley said. “And then instead of ‘catch-and-release,’ we’ll go to catch and deport. That’s how you go and make sure you stop the border.”

Trump’s policy, first implemented in 2018, forces asylum-seekers to stay on the Mexican side of the border while awaiting trial dates for their asylum cases, which can take months. Previous U.S. policy allowed those asylum-seekers into the U.S. to await their court dates.

Over 80,000 migrants were returned to Mexico through the program and just under 900 of them were granted asylum as of November 2022, according to research from Syracuse University.

The Biden administration attempted to halt the policy in early 2021, though a federal court injunction kept it going. The Supreme Court ruled the Biden administration could end the program last June, and it finally ended in late 2022.

Haley’s support has slightly waned in recent weeks as other candidates climb in poll results. She has received about 4 percent support in national polling averages, good for fifth in the field of candidates.

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