ICE spokesperson quits over 'false public statements' from Trump administration


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.

Former ICE spokesman James Schwab pointed to statements made by Acting ICE Director Tom Homan and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who have stated that Schaaf's warning February 24 about an ICE raid in Northern California resulted in several hundred undocumented immigrants from eluding arrest, according to multiple media outlets, including the San Francisco Chronicle, KTVU and CNN.

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

"The more people I have in the jail the less people I have to send out on the street to look for them", the official said, speaking on condition he not be named as part of a background briefing set up by the White House ahead of President Trump's trip to California Tuesday. It was when Schwab presented the issue to ICE leadership that they advised him to deflect to statements that he alleges "did not clarify the wrong information". "Then I took some time and I quit", Schwab said.

ICE authorities arrested more than 150 people in Northern California last month, two days after Schaaf warned residents of the impending raids, citing "credible sources". "Because these jurisdictions prevent ICE from arresting criminal aliens in the secure confines of a jail, they also force ICE officers to make more arrests out in the community, which poses increased risks for law enforcement and the public". I think she could have had other options.

While Schwab said he may not agree with Schaaf on everything she did, he said the original ICE projections were to arrest far fewer than the 232 people agents took into custody. "It's a false statement because we never pick up 100% of our targets. And to say they're a type of unsafe criminal is also misleading", he said.

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"864 criminal aliens and public safety threats remain at large in the community, and I have to believe that some of them were able to elude us thanks to the mayor's irresponsible decision", Homan said.

Last week, Sessions called out Schaaf, saying, "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".

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

"I didn't feel like fabricating the truth to defend ourselves against [the mayor's] actions was the way to go about it", he told the Chronicle.

The previous day, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf released a public statement warning the community that ICE was planning the sweep. Jordon Dyrdahl-Roberts wrote a piece in mid-February detailing his hard decision to resign as legal secretary for the Montana Department of Labor and Industry because he didn't want to help process documents that could help ICE track down and deport undocumented immigrants.