On Wednesday, a top immigration official claimed that up to as many as 800 undocumented immigrants in Northern California managed to avoid arrest because of a warning on Twitter, posted at the weekend by Mayor, Libby Schaaf. In an interview with Fox and Friends, Thomas Homan, the acting chief of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, blamed Schaaf for giving a tip-off that a large-scale immigration enforcement operation was about to get underway in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Mayor’s warning served to escalate tensions between the Trump administration and California officials. Homan said the Justice Department is examining whether the Mayor’s actions constituted obstruction of justice and said that because of her criminal immigrants have been allowed to stay in Oakland and endanger the community, adding that he found her behavior unbelievable.
Federal immigration agents in California arrested over 150 undocumented immigrants after the Mayor’s warnings about the raid, the agency revealed on Tuesday. The three-day sweep kicked off on Sunday, covering cities including Stockton, in the Central Valley of California, through to Sacramento. Around 50 percent of those arrested had criminal records.
Homan said that the sweep had deliberately targeted ‘sanctuary cities’, which he says shield dangerous criminal immigrants from federal law enforcement and endanger public safety. Schaaf says she does not regret her actions and that her warning gave residents the chance to be aware of their legal rights and options.