February 22, 2018

President Trump on Thursday threatened to punish the entire state of California for not adhering to his preferred immigration policy.

Specifically, Trump said he was considering removing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from the state because of its newly adopted statewide "sanctuary" status, which provides some protections for undocumented immigrants. His remarks came suddenly, The Washington Times reports, during a meeting on school safety at the White House and after he spent nearly a minute explaining why California so desperately needed a strong ICE presence.

"Frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crime nest like you've never seen in California," Trump said, after complaining that the state was not doing enough to deport undocumented criminals in gangs like MS-13. "All I'd have to do is say: 'ICE and border patrol, let California alone.'"

"You'd see crime like nobody's ever seen crime in this country," he continued, calling the state's sanctuary status "a disgrace." He also predicted that if he did pull federal border enforcement agents, California would long desperately for their return: "In two months they'd be begging for us to come back. And you know what? I'm thinking about doing it."

Watch his remarks below. Kelly O'Meara Morales