ICE spokesman resigns to avoid 'fabricating the truth'

Foreign nationals being arrested in a targeted operation

Foreign nationals being arrested in a targeted operation

Schwab, who served as the spokesman for San Francisco, indicated he tried to get the agency to change the information it promoted but quit when that failed. 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", Schwab said.

In the weeks following Schaaf's tip-off, Homan, Sessions, and Trump all lambasted the Oakland mayor and cited similar figures. In fact, he told Oakland Fox affiliate KTVU that the operation was not even originally expected to arrest 232 suspected undocumented immigrants, making it more successful than planned.

The ICE operation, called Keep Safe, began on February 25, and was meant to show California leaders that the state's sanctuary city laws preventing local police from assisting ICE agents could not protect undocumented immigrants, the Chronicle reported. According to ICE, of the 232 people picked up, 115 had felonies or misdemeanors.

"864 criminal aliens and public safety threats remain at large in the community, and I have to believe that some of them were able to elude us thanks to the mayor's irresponsible decision", acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said on the third day of the operation.

Also last week, Sessions announced a lawsuit against California for impeding federal immigration enforcement and said, "You can be sure I'm going to use every power I have to stop that".

In response, Schaaf said, "How dare you vilify members of our community by trying to frighten the American public into thinking that all undocumented residents are risky criminals?".

"Those are 800 wanted criminals that are now at large in that community - 800 wanted criminals that ICE will now have to pursue with more difficulty in more risky situations, all because of one mayor's irresponsible action", Sessions had said.

These figures propagated across news outlets.

Schwab said he doesn't want to out any particular people in the agency but said he felt he had to make a statement by quitting to do the right thing in his mind.

"I didn't feel like fabricating the truth to defend ourselves against (Schaaf's) actions was the way to go about it", Schwab said. "It's a false statement because we never pick up 100% of our targets". But his statement that placing blame on Schaaf for "800 unsafe people out there is just false" does peel back the curtain on a small part of a government that's all too comfortable spreading misinformation.

Schwab insists that Hamon and Sessions' statements are inaccurate.

"It's the job of a public affairs officer to offer transparency for the agency you work for." he argued.

He added when he took the job in August 2015 during the Obama administration, after having worked as a public affairs specialist for the U.S. Army Reserve in Mountain View and as a spokesman for the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field for more than 15 years, he never could have imagined what he would be asked to do. Schwab told CNN he'd "never" been in a situation "where someone asked me to deflect when we absolutely knew something was awry".

On Tuesday, ICE spokeswoman Liz Johnson did not directly counter the former spokesman's claims but backed away from the agency director's previous statement that hundreds escaped because of the mayor. Schaaf's actions "clearly had an impact" on the number of arrests, though the agency can't put a number on it. "While we disagree with Mr. Schwab on this issue, we appreciate his service and wish him well", the department told TheDCNF in a statement.

The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment. "And to say they're a type of risky criminal is also misleading".

But Sessions veered from the written remarks, and was recorded saying "800 wanted criminals" at least twice in his speech. Very unsafe. She really made law enforcement much more risky than it had to be. "We believe in the rule of law and one criminal alien victimizing residents of Oakland is one too many".

On Monday, Schaaf applauded Schwab's decision to resign.

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