Monday, October 21, 2019

Oakland mayor stands by her decision of telling immigrants about ICE raids

Federal immigration agents arrested more than 150 people in California, days after Oakland’s mayor gave early warning of the raids.

On Saturday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned residents that “credible sources” had told her a sweep was imminent, calling it her “duty and moral obligation” to warn families. The warning “was meant to give all residents time to learn their rights and know their legal options,” she said in a statement Tuesday night.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced that agents made the arrests in a three-day sweep that started Sunday. About half of those arrested for being in the country illegally had criminal convictions such as assault with a deadly weapon, including a man who had been previously deported to Mexico eight times, the agency said.

Acting ICE director Thomas Homan criticized Schaaf and her city in a statement that suggested the sweep targeted so-called “sanctuary cities” that limit cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement. California lawmakers from Gov. Jerry Brown down to local mayors have resisted the Trump administration immigration crackdown that they contend is arbitrarily hauling in otherwise law-abiding people and splitting up families that include U.S.-born children.

The ICE sweep was the second since a statewide sanctuary law took effect last month. Defenders of sanctuary city practices say they actually improve public safety by promoting trust among law enforcement and immigrant communities and reserving scarce police resources for other, more urgent crime-fighting needs.

Schaaf defended her decision Tuesday night.

“I do not regret sharing this information,” Schaaf said. “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.”

USA TODAY