The US President Donald Trump has said his administration is considering sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Trump claimed: "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....The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy - so this should make them very happy!"
The term 'sanctuary city' is broadly applied to cities, counties and states that have laws, regulations or policies that do not allow local police to participate in immigration enforcement.
In most cases, they also refuse to turn immigrant detainees over to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The US Centre for Immigration Studies has said this is done either by refusing to or prohibiting agencies from complying with ICE detainers, imposing unreasonable conditions on detainer acceptance - or denying ICE access to interview incarcerated aliens.
According to the centre, some sanctuary states include California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont.
New York City Comptroller Scott M Stringer has said Mr Trump's suggestion comes from a a "truly warped mind".
"It takes a truly warped mind to think that releasing families who sought asylum at the border in Sanctuary Cities would be a "punishment", he wrote on Twitter.
"These families are just seeking a better life, and Sanctuary Cities exist because we *want them here*."