Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling is seen in this 2018 BDN file photo. Strimling said if President Donald Trump wants to send more immigrants to "sanctuary cities" like Portland, he would welcome them.

In a tweet Friday, President Donald Trump said his administration is strongly considering a policy to send detained immigrants to “sanctuary cities” that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The mayor of Maine’s largest city says Portland will take them.

“If he wants to send more immigrants our way, bring them on,” says Mayor Ethan Strimling.

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Strimling notes that in Portland, city policy bars employees, including the police, from asking someone for his or her immigration status unless there is “reasonable suspicion” that they are in violation. That may not be as substantial of an open-door policy as in some cities, such as San Francisco, Strimling says, but Portland should be considered a sanctuary city with a small “s”.

“We are a place that you should feel welcome and come to,” he says. “We are not going to check your papers as you are walking up the street, we don’t believe in that, and I hope we never do.”

[Portland’s population would have dropped since 2000 without immigrants, report says]

The White House had denied that there was serious consideration of sending detainees to sanctuary cities, but Trump appears to have countermanded that with his tweet.

Strimling says that while the city’s social service agencies have struggled with a recent influx of immigrants who crossed into the United States in Texas, it is incumbent on the city to ensure that proper services are available.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

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