ICE spokesman resigns, slams Trump administration's falsehoods

Sergio Conner
March 13, 2018

The senior administration official gave a detailed list of ills he said stemmed from California's sanctuary laws, saying the cartels that control all of the human smuggling across the U.S. -Mexico border are using sanctuaries as "a selling point" to would-be illegal immigrants.

Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf warned her community that the raid was coming, drawing the ire of ICE acting director Thomas Homan and United States attorney general Jeff Sessions. "I asked them to change the information". "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.

ICE said it arrested as many as 232 undocumented immigrants across northern California in the sweep. "And to say they're a type of unsafe criminal is also misleading", he said. "Unlike the politicians who attempt to undermine ICE's critical mission, our officers will continue to fulfill their sworn duty to protect public safety".

The spokesman, James Schwab, said it was untrue that more than 800 "criminal aliens" escaped arrest due to a warning days earlier from Oakland's mayor, as the Trump administration claimed.

ICE said while they disagreed with Schwab's take on the issue, they wished him well.

"I didn't feel like fabricating the truth to defend ourselves against (Schaaf's) actions was the way to go about it", Schwab said.

The next day, President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out "subversion" at VA MORE said that "close to 1,000" people were expected to be arrested before the mayor issued her warning. 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, however, told the Chronicle that those statements were falsehoods, and led to his resignation.

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"So here's my message to Mayor Schaaf: How dare you".

"I just couldn't bear the burden - continuing on as a representative of the agency and charged with upholding integrity, knowing that information was false", Schwab told CNN.

But according to Schwab, that was an unrealistic estimate. His service lasted until 2005, according to his LinkedIn page, and he later joined the Department of Defense, where he became a public affairs specialist in 2011.

The Justice Department last week sued to block those three laws, prompting an outraged response from Democrats who control the state's government. The agency confirmed Schwab's resignation to The Chronicle, but would not discuss specifics.

Mayor Schaaf told The Washington Post in an interview earlier this month that she made a decision to warn the immigrant community of the impending ICE raid for fear that the operation was not wholly targeting "criminals", and that, instead, hard-working mothers or fathers without criminal records might end up arrested and deported.

In his attack on Schaaf, Trump said 85 percent of the targeted immigrants had criminal records. "Personally I think her actions were misguided and not responsible".

"Our democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard", she added. "Even though those previous statements did not clarify the wrong information".

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