ICE spokesman quits; says he refused to fudge raid numbers
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s office in San Francisco resigned last week, saying he could not echo statements made by the Trump administration and ICE officials regarding Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s recent warning about immigration raids that he knew to be false.
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 Feb. 24 about an ICE raid in northern California resulted in several hundred undocumented immigrants eluding arrest.
Schwab said that the statement was false, in part, because ICE raids never result in the arrest of 100 percent of the targets. Schwab told KTVU that the fourday operation, which resulted in the arrests of 232 undocumented immigrants, was “more successful than the agency had hoped.”
“I quit because I didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts,” Schwab, 38, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “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.”
ICE spokesperson Liz Johnson issued the following statement regarding Schwab’s resignation.
“Even one criminal alien on the street can put public safety at risk, and as Director Homan stated, while we can’t put a number on how many targets avoided arrest due to the mayor’s warning, it clearly had an impact,” Johnson wrote.
Schwab said he was told to reinforce statements made by top ICE officials, including a Feb. 27 press release that reported more than 800 undocumented immigrants eluded arrest because of Schaaf’s warning.
Schwab took issue with the assertion that Schaaf’s warning resulted in several hundred people escaping arrest.
“Director Homan and the attorney general said there were 800 people at large and free to roam because of the actions of the Oakland mayor,” Schwab told CNN. “Personally, I think her actions were misguided and not responsible. I think she could have had other options. But to blame her for 800 dangerous people out there is just false.”