James Schwab, a spokesman in the agency's San Francisco office, said he was frustrated by remarks made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and ICE Director Tom Homan that more than 800 "criminal aliens" escaped arrest after being tipped off by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on February 24, the night before four days of raids were to begin.
Other ICE officials told Fox affiliate KTVU that Schwab resigned "abruptly" and that the agency disagrees with him on the characterization of the issue.
He said one officer operating in a jail can process 10 illegal immigrants in a day, but if those 10 are all released it takes six-man teams days, weeks or even months to track them down out in the community, where everyone is at more risk.
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Schwab told SFGate, "I quit because I didn't want to perpetuate misleading facts". "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", Schwab said. 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".
ICE officials confirmed Schwab's resignation but did not respond to questions regarding the disputed figures.
"But if anyone wants to have a public argument over precisely how many risky criminal aliens eluded arrest because of the Mayor's irresponsible actions, we are happy to have that debate".
But Schwab, who represented ICE's San Francisco office, told media that he wanted the agency to correct their numbers.
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Last week, President Donald Trump doubled down on Homan's earlier criticism that Schaaf's warning of imminent ICE activity tipped off criminals. At a campaign rally over the weekend in Pennsylvania, Trump told the crowd that ICE had been prepared to arrest "close to 1,000 people" but got "a fraction" of that, thanks to the mayor - and called Schaaf a disgrace. She reiterated that point last week with KTVU, saying that she deeply respects police, and "never gave any specific locations that could have endangered law enforcement". What she did is incredible and very risky from the standpoint of ICE and border patrol. That state previous year enacted three laws that prevent local law enforcement from asking people their immigration status and from holding migrants for pickup by ICE, and limits how much information they're allowed to provide to ICE officers; orders businesses to refuse voluntary cooperation with ICE; and orders state investigators to probe the federal government's handling of immigrants held in detention facilities in the state. "So we are looking at that situation very carefully". "But to blame her for 800 risky people out there is just false", Schwab told CNN. "Those are 800 wanted criminals that are now at large, 800 wanted criminals that ICE will now have to pursue by other means, with more difficulty, in unsafe situations, all because of one irresponsible action", Sessions said during his visit last week to California. I think she could have had other options.
The ICE director went further the next day, according to the Chronicle, when he said "there's 800 that we are unable to locate because of that warning" - essentially blaming all the escapees on the mayor.
"We were never going to pick up that many people".
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