Local ICE spokesman resigns over Jeff Sessions comments

Elias Hubbard
March 13, 2018

The row has unfolded amid the resignation of a San Francisco spokesman for ICE, who said he could no longer represent the agency after Trump administration officials repeatedly made false public statements about the Northern California raids.

San Francisco Division ICE spokesman James Schwab chose to leave because he felt Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Acting ICE Director Tom Homan had mischaracterized the circumstances of illegal immigrants in Oakland, Calif., reports CNN.

Schwab told several media outlets that the statement was false, in part, because ICE raids never result in the arrest of 100 percent of the targets.

In that four-day sweep through Northern California, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation officers arrested 232 people - but high-level federal officials, including President Trump, said Schaaf was to blame for 864 more people not being arrested.

"I quit because I didn't want to perpetuate misleading facts", Schwab said.

"I've never been in this situation in 16 nearly 17 years in government where someone asked me to deflect when we absolutely knew something was awry - when the data was not correct" he said.

"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", he told CNN on Monday. "Then I took some time and I quit", Schwab said.

ICE spokesperson Liz Johnson issued the following statement regarding Schwab's resignation.

Schwab said he pushed back on that characterization - but said ICE instructed him to "deflect" questions from the press.

A USA immigration official in Northern California has resigned, accusing the Trump administration of making misleading statements on a recent operation to arrest undocumented immigrants in the area.

Sessions repeated the 800-person figure during a speech on March 7 and President Donald Trump said the next day that Schaaf's actions prompted federal scrutiny.

Schwab said that, before resigning, as he was faced with questions from reporters about Homan's and Sessions' comments, he hoped he could set the record straight and correct the idea that hundreds of risky criminals got away thanks to Schaaf. Very unsafe. She really made law enforcement much more risky than it had to be.

Schwab took issue with the assertion that Schaff's warning resulted in several hundred people escaping arrest. Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand MORE said that Homan had told him "ICE failed to make 800 arrests that they would have made if the mayor had not acted as she did".

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

Schaaf's warning on February 24, an attempt to protect undocumented immigrants who did not have criminal charges against them and would be separated from their families if detained, ruined the operation that would have arrested potentially hundreds of "criminal aliens", according to statements from ICE Acting Director Thomas D. Homan, Sessions, and Trump.

"Personally I think her actions were misguided and not responsible", Schwab told CNN.

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

"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 risky situations, all because of one mayor's irresponsible action", Sessions had said.

"How dare she say we are terrorizing communities?"

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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