Immigration Head Blames Oakland Mayor for 800 Missed Arrests

Olga R. Rodriguez and Elliot Spagat, Associated Press, February 28, 2018

A federal official said Wednesday that about 800 “criminals” avoided immigration arrests because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf alerted the public to the surprise operation, an extraordinarily high number of missed targets.

Thomas Homan, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s acting director, told Fox News that the mayor’s warning on Twitter was “beyond the pale” and compared her to a gang lookout who tells people when a police car is arriving. Homan said the Justice Department is looking into whether Schaaf obstructed justice.

{snip}

The agency declined to elaborate on the 800 who allegedly got away or answer other questions about the operation that began Sunday. Danielle Bennett, an agency spokeswoman, said more information would be released later in the week.

John Torres, the agency’s director during the end of George W. Bush’s administration and beginning of Barack Obama’s, said agents generally capture about 40 percent of people they target in such sweeps.

Targets often elude authorities because agents don’t have search warrants and advocacy groups have waged public awareness campaigns urging people not to open their doors. Other times, agents have outdated addresses or targets are not home.

It was unclear how many people would have eluded capture without the mayor’s warning but Homan squarely blamed her for 800 and said her actions jeopardized officer safety.

“There’s over 800 significant public safety threat criminals, these are people who are here illegally and committed yet another crime, been convicted of a crime,” he told Fox. “She gave them warning, and there’s 800 that we were unable to locate because of that warning, so that community’s a lot less safe than it would have been.”

{snip}

The agency said about half of the people arrested in the San Francisco area have criminal convictions in addition to immigration violations, including convictions for assault, weapons offenses and driving under the influence. {snip}

Schaff on Saturday issued a statement on Twitter that she learned from “multiple credible sources” that an immigration operation was imminent in the San Francisco area, including Oakland, possibly within 24 hours.

{snip}

Asked about Homan likening her to a gang lookout, she said the “Trump administration is trying to distract the American people, convince them that these immigrants are dangerous people. That could not be further from the truth and it is based in racism.”

{snip}

Homan, in announcing the arrests late Tuesday, renewed his warning that California’s limits on cooperating with ICE in local jails will lead to a bigger presence of immigration agents on the streets.

“Sanctuary jurisdictions like San Francisco and Oakland shield dangerous criminal aliens from federal law enforcement at the expense of public safety,” he said.

Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.