U.S.

ICE Spokesman Resigns, Says DOJ Exaggerated Stats in Attack on Oakland Mayor

(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
The resignation resulted from an ongoing fight between the Justice Department and Mayor Libby Schaaf over her city’s sanctuary policies.

A spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) quit last week over his conviction that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and acting ICE director Thomas D. Homan were repeating exaggerated statistics on illegal-immigrant criminals.

James Schwab, San Francisco’s ICE representative, disagreed with the response of Sessions and Homan to the actions of Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, who tweeted a warning to illegal immigrants on February 24, the night before an upcoming ICE raid.

During an appearance last week before the Alliance of California Law Enforcement, Sessions blasted the mayor and said that over 800 illegal-immigrant criminals had escaped the raid because of her warning. Homan has said that, “864 criminal aliens and public safety threats remain at large in the community, and I have to believe that some of them were able to elude us thanks to the mayor’s irresponsible decision.”

But Schwab claims otherwise and was apparently willing to quit over the matter. “We were never going to pick up that many people,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle. “To say that 100 percent are dangerous criminals on the street, or that those people weren’t picked up because of the misguided actions of the mayor, is just wrong. . . . I quit because I didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts. I asked them to change the information. I told them that the information was wrong, they asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that. Then I took some time and I quit.”

ICE has confirmed that the February sweep picked up 232 illegal immigrants in Northern California. Schaaf defended her decision and praised Schwab.

“I do not regret sharing this information. It is Oakland’s legal right to be a sanctuary city and we have not broken any laws,” she said. “I commend Mr. Schwab for speaking the truth while under intense pressure to lie. Our democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard.”

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