While President Donald Trump floats the idea of pulling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers out of California, the mayor of Oakland is pressing the panic button.
Warning residents of an impending ICE raid, Mayor Libby Schaaf issued a statement declaring, “I know that Oakland is a city of law-abiding immigrants and families who deserve to live free from the constant threat of arrest and deportation.”
Schaaf also took to Twitter: “I believe it is my duty and moral obligation as mayor to give those families fair warning when that threat appears imminent.”
The mayor didn’t say how she learned of the reputed ICE sweep, and ICE would not confirm that one was planned. “There are ICE operations every day and it is unclear what the mayor is referring to,” said an official for the agency.
Schaaf’s “alert” highlights the increasingly tense standoff between politicians in California — a declared sanctuary state – and federal immigration officers.
Thomas Homan, acting director of ICE, has said that local and state officials who adhere to sanctuary policies should be arrested. He previously said California’s pushback is requiring more manpower to conduct operations there.
Last week, Trump suggested, without elaboration, that he might order ICE out of the state and let California deal with consequences. That left White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah to interpret the president’s remark for reporters.
“We think California should actually enforce immigration law rather than get in the way of it and ignore federal immigration law. We think that sanctuary cities are a threat to public safety and they encourage more illegal immigration,” Shah said.
“I wouldn’t get ahead of anything the president might do,” Shah added. “But I would say that California’s law-enforcement decisions, and decisions of the governor and others up and down at the state level, have been very troubling.”
For now, it’s business as usual at ICE. During one week last month, immigration agents raided 77 Northern California businesses, asking the detained for proof that they were allowed to work in the country. The agency also conducted large-scale sweeps in Southern California.
Meantime, local and state officials are expending public funds to protect illegal aliens. Alameda County, which includes Oakland, shelled out $1 million for a rapid-response hotline aimed at helping illegal migrants swept up in immigration raids.
In a statement to FAIR on Monday, ICE said: “Deportation officers with ICE and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) conduct targeted enforcement operations on a daily basis in Northern California and across the nation.”
“ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately. However, ICE no longer exempts classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”
“While the vast majority of cities in America do cooperate with ICE, others force ICE to assign additional resources to conduct at-large arrests in the community, putting officers, the general public and the aliens at greater risk and increasing the incidence of collateral arrests. Sanctuary cities and states are not immune from federal law.”