James Schwab told the media on Monday that Trump officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump himself grossly exaggerated the number of undocumented immigrants who avoided arrest after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf tipped off the public days before the raid took place on February 25.
“I quit because I didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts,” Schwab said. “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 to think and I quit.”
Schwab added that even if there had been no prior warning about the raid, “we were not ever going to be able to capture 100 percent of the target list.”
ICE said 232 people were arrested in the sweep, but claimed the number could have been higher.
“Efforts by local politicians have shielded removable criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and created another magnet for more illegal immigration, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people it purports to protect,” the agency said in a statement.
Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan stated that 864 criminal aliens escaped arrest, and Trump said that close to 1,000 people would have been swept up, calling Schaaf’s warning “a disgrace.” Sessions accused the Oakland mayor of promoting “a radical open-borders agenda.”
Schwab disputed the claims and told the media he could no longer “bear the burden of continuing on as a representative of the agency and charged with upholding integrity, knowing that information was false.”
“Our democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard,” the mayor said in a statement.
Sessions added fire to the dispute by filing a lawsuit against the state of California over its so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) characterized the move as “basically going to war against the state of California.”