San Francisco Division ICE spokesman James Schwab resigned from his position on Monday and blasted the Trump administration while doing so, citing misinformation as the impetus to leave his job.
CNN reported that Schwab felt compelled to leave his post because he believed that acting ICE Director Thomas Homan and Attorney General Jeff Sessions were guilty of misleading the public about the decision by the mayor of Oakland, California, to publicly announce an impending U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (D) publicly announced an imminent ICE raid in February. She sent the notice to her more than 20,000 Twitter followers because she felt the raids warranted a public announcement.
According to Schaaf, her intention in publicizing the information was not to cause a panic among residents, but to protect them. In her announcement, Schaaf added that police are prohibited from cooperating with federal immigration officials.
California became a sanctuary state on Jan. 1.
Despite Schaaf’s announcement, officials were still able to arrest more than 200 illegal immigrants in the area, and about 180 of those arrested “were either convicted criminals, had been issued a final order of removal and failed to depart the United States, or had been previously removed.”
In response to the mayor’s announcement, Homan revealed that the Department of Justice would be launching an investigation as to whether Schaaf obstructed justice.
Homan also told Fox News that what Schaaf did was “no better than a gang lookout yelling ‘police’ when a police cruiser comes to the neighborhood except she did it to the entire community,” and added that he believed her actions helped 800 illegal immigrants avoid deportation.
Sessions made similar comments about the 800 illegal immigrants and said, “Those are 800 wanted criminals that are now at large in that community — 800 wanted criminals that ICE will now have to pursue with more difficulty in more dangerous situations, all because of one mayor’s irresponsible action.”
Schwab said that prior to handing in his resignation, he approached ICE leadership with concerns over how the news of the raid was being portrayed to the public.
Schwab said that leadership told him to refer to previous statements, “even though those previous statements did not clarify the wrong information.”
“I’ve never been in this situation in 16 almost 17 years in government where someone asked me to deflect when we absolutely knew something was awry — when the data was not correct,” Schwab said.
CNN reported that Schwab said he is a registered Democrat but insists he has been a “loyal federal servant, regardless of which party is in power.”
He added that he “just couldn’t bear the burden — continuing on as a representative of the agency and charged with upholding integrity — knowing that information was false.”
Addressing Schaaf’s decision to announce the raid, Schwab added, “Personally I think her actions were misguided and not responsible. I think she could have had other options. But to blame her for 800 dangerous people out there is just false.”
“It’s a false statement because we never pick up 100 percent of our targets,” he said. “And to say they’re a type of dangerous criminal is also misleading.”