As the Trump Administration steps up their feud with California, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) public affairs officer has resigned because he couldn’t stand being ordered to lie for them.
San Francisco ICE spokesman James Schwab accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Acting ICE Director Tom Homan of using misleading claims to attack Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf over her decision to warn the public before an immigration raid.
“Director Homan and the Attorney General said there were 800 people at large and free to roam because of the actions of the Oakland Mayor,” Schwab told CNN. “Personally I think her actions were misguided and not responsible. I think she could have had other options. But to blame her for 800 dangerous people out there is just false.”
Indeed, Homan and Sessions both released similar statements accusing Schaaf of being responsible for allowing over 800 “dangerous criminals” to roam freely in her community, language that Schwab took issue with.
“It’s a false statement because we never pick up 100% of our targets,” he said. “And to say they’re a type of dangerous criminal is also misleading.”
Schwab voiced his concerns but was told to continue spouting the accusation as truth, something he’s never been asked to do throughout his career with the agency.
“I asked them to change the information,” Schwab told SFGate. “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. I quit because I didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts.”
“I just couldn’t bear the burden — continuing on as a representative of the agency and charged with upholding integrity, knowing that information was false,” he added.
Sessions recently went to California and announced that he is suing the state over a series of state and local laws designed to force ICE and other federal law enforcement agents to do their job according to the Constitution. Laws which include respecting due process such as obtaining warrants to search properties and arrest suspects. In short, ICE cannot raid a home or business without going through the legal steps required to do so as outlined in the Fourth Amendment.
Sessions’ willful disdain for constitutional principles also extends to the judicial branch, which he has repeatedly criticized for blocking President Donald Trump’s immigration policies even though courts have the power to do so.
In response to the resignation, Mayor Schaaf praised Schwab and thanked him for being a public servant “with integrity.”
“I commend Mr. Schwab for speaking the truth while under intense pressure to lie,” she said. “Our democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard.”
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