Oakland mayor defends warning of immigration raids: I did the right thing

Oakland mayor defends warning of immigration raids: I did the right thing

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (D) on Wednesday defended her decision to warn residents over the weekend of impending immigration raids, which law enforcement officials said prevented 800 individuals from being located. 

“I continue to feel confident that what I did was the right thing and it was legal,” Schaaf said at a news conference

“I did not give specific information that could have endangered law enforcement. I encouraged people to not panic but to know their rights, to know their responsibilities and to know about the unique resources that are available in this community,” she continued.

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Schaaf warned city residents Saturday night of pending immigration raids in the Bay Area, saying sweeps could occur in the next 24 hours.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed Tuesday night that it detained more than 150 people who violated U.S. immigration law in "targeted immigration enforcement operations" in the San Francisco area.

ICE chief Thomas Homan on Wednesday morning criticized Schaaf for warning residents of impending immigrations raids, saying she put agents in danger and prevented the agency from locating 800 people deemed public safety threats.

Schaaf said Wednesday afternoon she would take the same action again, despite the backlash. Some have suggested she may have obstructed justice by pre-empting the raids.

“We have to fight against the racist myth that the Trump administration is trying to perpetuate, that immigrants are dangerous criminals. This is racist and it is false,” she said.

Schaaf, who was elected in 2015, defended her record on crime, saying homicides and shootings in the city have decreased in recent years. She added that she believes the city is safer when immigrants feel they can come forward to report a crime without fear of being arrested.