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ICE Spokesman Resigns Because Trump Administration Spreads Falsehoods

ICE Spokesman Resigns Because Trump Administration Spreads Falsehoods

James Schwab told the San Francisco Chronicle late Monday that administration officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump, grossly exaggerated the number of undocumented immigrants who avoided arrest after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf tipped off the public days before the raid began on February 25.

The most recent raid in the Bay area resulted in ICE arresting four people who had been previously arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, five people convicted of carrying concealed weapons, four people who were arrested for cruelty toward a child, two who were arrested for cruelty toward their wives, six people convicted of domestic violence, one person who had been convicted of drug trafficking, and one person who was convicted for lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, Homan said. "Those are 800 wanted criminals that are now at large, 800 wanted criminals that ICE will now have to pursue by other means, with more difficulty, in risky situations, all because of one irresponsible action", Sessions said during his visit last week to California. Trump administration officials have since claimed that her warning led to "864 criminal aliens" remaining "at large in the community".

Schwab, who served as the spokesman for San Francisco, indicated he tried to get the agency to change the information it promoted but quit when that failed.

"I quit because I didn't want to perpetuate misleading facts", Schwab, 38, told the Chronicle.

The senior official said ICE has concluded both requests are legal, but he would be satisfied if local law enforcement at least gave the heads-up before release, giving his officers a chance to collect targets before they're released into the community. "To say. that those people weren't picked up because of the misguided actions of the mayor, is just wrong".

Schwab said that, before resigning, as he was faced with questions from reporters about Homan's and Sessions's comments, he hoped he could set the record straight and correct the idea that hundreds of unsafe criminals got away thanks to Schaaf.

The Oakland mayor said in response to the former spokesman speaking out, "I commend Mr. Schwab for speaking the truth while under intense pressure to lie".

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In the weeks following Schaaf's tip-off, Homan, Sessions, and Trump all lambasted the Oakland mayor and cited similar figures.

Schaaf said it was her "duty and moral obligation as mayor to give those families fair warning when that threat appears imminent", adding that she believed numerous immigrants ICE was targeting were law-abiding. Schwab went on to tell an Oakland Fox affiliate that the operation was expected to arrest "far fewer" than the 232 suspected undocumented people it did.

"While we can't put a number on how many targets avoided arrest due to the mayor's warning, it clearly had an impact", ICE spokeswoman Liz Johnson said. "I've never been in a situation when I've been asked to ignore the facts because it was more convenient". But, when he brought his concerns to ICE, he said they told him to direct reporters to statements ICE or Homan had already made - to "deflect to previous statements", as he put it.

Schwab was hired by the ICE agency in 2015, but has long worked for the federal government according to his LinkedIn profile.

"It's the job of a public affairs officer to offer transparency for the agency you work for".

The president will visit California on Tuesday for the first time as president to inspect prototypes for his proposed border wall along the southern border.


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