Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

ICE spokesperson resigns after refusing to perpetuate Trump administration's fake news

ICE spokesperson resigns after refusing to perpetuate Trump administration's fake news

After Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf issued a statement to warn the undocumented community of possible Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, the Trump Administration has gone on to spread falsehoods, according to a spokesman for the agency.

When he told supervisors he was not comfortable perpetuating that narrative, Schwab said he was told by the Office of Public Affairs to repeat what was in the February 27 news release and defer questions to the Department of Justice.

"I quit because I didn't want to perpetuate misleading facts", he told the San Francisco Chronicle, which broke the story. I asked them to change the information. "Then I took some time and I quit", Schwab said.

Following up this February 27 statement, Sessions mirrored these remarks while visiting Sacramento last week, saying, "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 unsafe situations, all because of one mayor's irresponsible action".

Data from ICE has also shown that the agency saw a significantly higher rate of arrest for immigrants without a criminal background under the Trump administration, with a 171 percent spike in the share of non-criminals arrested in 2017 compared to the year before.

While Schwab said he may not agree with Schaaf on everything she did, he said the original ICE projections were to arrest far fewer than the 232 people agents took into custody.

"ICE went in there and removed these people from the community. To say that 100 percent are unsafe criminals on the street, or that those people weren't picked up because of the misguided actions of the mayor, is just wrong", Schwab said.

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"Even one criminal alien on the street can put public safety at risk and as Director Homan stated, while we can't put a number on how many targets avoided arrest due to the mayor's warning, it clearly had an impact", Johnson wrote. According to ICE, of the 232 people picked up, 115 had felonies or misdemeanors.

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. 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.

"It's the job of a public affairs officer to offer transparency for the agency you work for", he told the Chronicle. "I'd never have someone say, 'Why do I have to call an interpreter?"

She said this of Schwab: "We appreciate his service and wish him well". Very risky. She really made law enforcement much more unsafe than it had to be.

"But if anyone wants to have a public argument over precisely how many risky criminal aliens eluded arrest because of the Mayor's irresponsible actions, we are happy to have that debate".

Homan said the minority house leader's comments were "beyond the pale", asserting that 88 percent of the people arrested in the Northern California raids were convicted criminals.

"I commend Mr. Schwab for speaking the truth while under intense pressure to lie", she said in a statement to The Post.

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