Mayor Libby Schaaf (D) of Oakland, California, warned illegal immigrants on Saturday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents can be expected to conduct raids in the San Francisco Bay area. Sharing a press release on Twitter, Schaaf wrote that she had “learned from multiple credible sources” that ICE would be conducting enforcement in the area and added that it was her "ethical obligation" warn illegal immigrants in her city.

"My priority is for the well-being and safety of all residents -- particularly our most vulnerable -- and I know that Oakland is safer when we share information, encourage community awareness, and care for our neighbors,” Schaaf wrote in her press release. She added, "I have reached out to local leaders and partners in our immigrant communities to share this information...We want residents to prepare, not panic. We understand ICE has used activity rumors in the past as a tactic to create fear; our intent is for our community to go about their daily lives without fear, but resiliency and awareness."

In an interview on "Fox & Friends" on Monday, Don Rosenberg shared the story of the death of his son, Drew Rosenberg, who was killed by an illegal immigrant in 2010. Rosenberg said that Schaaf should be charged with obstruction of justice. Drew Rosenberg was riding his motorcycle in San Francisco in 2010 when he was struck and killed by an illegal immigrant. Roberto Galo, a man from Honduras who was present in the U.S. illegally, ran over Rosenberg’s body several time while trying to flee. Galo was arrested and later convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. After serving his sentence of six months in jail, Galo was deported in 2013.

According to Don Rosenberg, the victim’s father, Mayor Schaaf's priorities are "screwed up.” Arguing that she is apparently more interested in protecting illegal immigrant criminals than American citizens, he said that ICE targets specific individuals who have committed crimes in addition to being present in the country illegally. He denounced Schaaf’s claim that she is seeking to make her city safer. "I'd like to see the DOJ go after her, along with other people," Rosenberg said. "They should be going after her right now."

In the San Francisco Bay area, immigrant advocacy groups were flooded with calls and reports about ICE activity in the region. ICE reportedly detained immigrants facing deportation orders in several communities in the counties of Merced, Monterey, Napa, and Sacramento counties. While federal officials were reported in January for a surge for February, Mayor Schaaf claimed on Sunday that she had learned about the raid from unidentified “multiple sources” that did not, however, come “through official channels.” Last month, Schaaf told a news conference that she is willing to go to jail over her warnings of ICE activity. Schaaf referred immigrants to Centro Legal de la Raza, a legal services organization.

In an official statement to local KGO-TV, ICE declared “There are ICE operations every day and it is unclear what the mayor is referring to.” Schaaf has acknowledged that her alert may perpetuate fear among immigrants, but claimed it is her duty. “This is an opportunity for people to learn their rights and responsibilities,” she said. Oakland recently reaffirmed its sanctuary policy regarding cooperation with federal authorities on immigration issues. Activities undertaken by ICE recently have yielded arrests in several states. One operation in Los Angeles earlier this month resulted in 212 arrests of suspected illegal immigrants.

In addition, federal agents advised 122 businesses of forthcoming audits of their hiring records to determine whether they are following immigration law. In January, federal agents visited 77 businesses in northern California in one week and demanded proof that employees were allowed to work in the United States.

Legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) limits the circumstances under which jails across the state may surrender suspected illegal alien inmates in local jails to the federal government. The new law forbids police officers from arresting people on civil immigration warrants and from joining federal agents in task forces intended to enforce immigration laws. Since President Donald Trump took office, ICE has repeatedly warned that if it cannot detain people at local jails, it will be forced to make arrests in the communities that have sanctuary policies.  

In an interview on "America's Newsroom" on Monday, Katie Pavlich, a editor and Fox News contributor, said Mayor Schaaf is dishonest because she has not acknowledged that ICE is seeking out criminal illegal immigrants, not just the merely illegal residents. Furthermore, Pavlich said that Schaaf is putting ICE agents at risk by warning criminals of impending raids. "Their job is already dangerous enough. They're going up against hard, criminal aliens who have been convicted of things like murder, rape, criminal aliens who have been deported multiple times and come back into the United States, criminal aliens who are part of transnational gangs like MS-13 and international drug cartels from Mexico," Pavlich said. 



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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