Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

ICE spokesman resigns over Sessions' 'misleading' raid comments

ICE spokesman resigns over Sessions' 'misleading' raid comments

"I quit because I didn't want to perpetuate misleading facts", Schwab, who was hired during the Obama administration, told the Chronicle.

"The more people I have in the jail the less people I have to send out on the street to look for them", the official said, speaking on condition he not be named as part of a background briefing set up by the White House ahead of President Trump's trip to California Tuesday. "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", Schwab said.

"Sanctuary jurisdictions like San Francisco and Oakland shield unsafe criminal aliens from federal law enforcement at the expense of public safety", Homan said of Schaaf's warning.

Homan made the comments during a press call with reporters after the agency received widespread criticism over a targeted operation in Northern California that saw 232 people arrested. According to ICE, of the 232 people picked up, 115 had felonies or misdemeanors.

In the raid's aftermath, officials in Washington had repeatedly suggested that hundreds of criminals had escaped because of the mayor's actions.

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Homan said in a statement 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 his statement that placing blame on Schaaf for "800 risky people out there is just false" does peel back the curtain on a small part of a government that's all too comfortable spreading misinformation.

"So how dare you call them cowardly", he said.

James Schwab quit after ICE claimed Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's warning about potential raids helped roughly 800 people avoid arrest.

These figures propagated across news outlets. She told the story of Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, a mother of four and nurse at an Oakland public hospital, who was deported last August despite having no criminal record.

In actuality, Schwab said, the raid was more successful than ICE planned.

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"I didn't feel like fabricating the truth to defend ourselves against [the mayor's] actions was the way to go about it", he told the Chronicle.

"Efforts by local politicians have shielded removable criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and created another magnet for more illegal immigration, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people it purports to protect", Homan said in a statement. Although he agrees that Schaaf's actions were "misguided" and "not responsible", he takes issue with placing her with the blame of 800 unsafe people remaining at large.

Schwab says the statements were misleading because the agency never captures everyone on its target lists. Before joining ICE in 2015, Schwab was a public affairs specialist for the U.S. Army Reserve Element, a public affairs office for the NASA Ames Research Center, and a public affairs specialist for the U.S. Department of Defense. But Lori Haley, the western region communications director for ICE on Monday, told KTVU that Schwab had resigned "abruptly".

And Schwab's resignation comes at a time when the federal government and the city of Oakland are in a heated war of words: The head of ICE and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have both accused Schaaf of acting like a gang lookout, warning the bad guys that police are coming to give them time to run away.

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