- Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is being investigated by the Justice Department for warning the public of a surprise ICE raid
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it ‘outrageous’ and says Schaaf put federal officials in danger
- ICE acting director Thomas Homan said she let 800 ‘criminals’ to escape arrest
- He told Fox News that the mayor’s warning on Twitter was ‘beyond the pale’
- Homan compared her to a gang lookout who tells people when cops are coming
- The mayor’s warning last weekend came hours before the agency launched an operation in Northern California that resulted in more than 150 arrests
- Schaaf defended herself and says she broke no laws because Oakland is a sanctuary city
The Department of Justice will review the actions of the Oakland mayor who tipped off undocumented immigrants last weekend about a planned raid by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the action by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf ‘outrageous’ in a press conference on Thursday.
‘I think it’s outrageous that a mayor would circumvent federal authorities and certainly put them in danger by making a move such as that,’ Sanders told reporters.
She said the move was ‘under review,’ but would not give more details. The department will apparently look into whether her warning constitutes obstruction of justice.
Schaaf’s actions apparently kept more than 800 ‘criminals’ from being deported, according to Thomas Homan, ICE’s acting director.
The Department of Justice will review the actions of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff, who tipped off undocumented immigrants last weekend about a planned raid by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the action by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf ‘outrageous’ in a press conference on Thursday, and said Schaaf put federal authorities in danger
He said the Justice Department will review if Schaaf’s actions obstructed justice.
‘There’s over 800 significant public safety threat criminals, these are people who are here illegally and committed yet another crime, been convicted of a crime,’ he told Fox.
‘She gave them warning, and there’s 800 that we were unable to locate because of that warning, so that community’s a lot less safe than it would have been.’
Justin Berton, one of Schaaf’s spokespeople, told the Los Angeles Times his office isn’t aware of a review and declined to comment further. A Justice Department spokesman also declined comment to the Times.
She later said she did not regret tipping off illegal immigrants about the operation
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The mayor defended her warning in a statement posted to Twitter Tuesday, and said she felt it was her duty to warn residents of the ICE action.
‘I do not regret sharing this information,’ she wrote.
‘It is Oakland’s legal right to be a sanctuary city and we have not broken any laws. We believe our community is safer when families stay together.
The unusual public warning came hours before the agency launched an operation in Northern California that resulted in more than 150 arrests as of Tuesday, according to the agency.
Homan’s statement on Fox of 800 missed targets – plus the 150 arrests – in only three days suggests an unusually large operation by the agency’s standards.
Two weeks ago, it arrested 212 in a five-day operation in the Los Angeles area. A Texas operation in February resulted in 145 arrests over seven days.
The agency said about half of the people arrested during the Northern California sweep have criminal convictions in addition to immigration violations, including convictions for assault, weapons offenses and driving under the influence.
It is impossible to independently verify that claim because the agency refuses to name them. Its statement identified only one arrest by name.
ICE declined to elaborate on the 800 who allegedly got away or answer other questions about the operation that began Sunday. Danielle Bennett, an agency spokeswoman, said more information would be released later in the week.
John Torres, the agency’s director during the end of George W. Bush’s administration and beginning of Barack Obama’s, said agents generally capture about 40 per cent of people they target in such sweeps.
Targets often elude authorities because agents don’t have search warrants and advocacy groups have waged public awareness campaigns urging people not to open their doors. Other times, agents have outdated addresses or targets are not home.
It was unclear how many people would have eluded capture without the mayor’s warning but Homan squarely blamed her for 800 and said her actions jeopardized officer safety.