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ICE Spokesman Resigns Over Statements by Trump, Sessions On California Immigrants

by Countable | Updated on 3.13.18

What’s the story?

James Schwab, a now-former San Francisco spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), resigned his post, alleging "false" and “misleading” statements by department officials and President Trump regarding undocumented immigrant arrests in California. Schwab maintains that he sought to clarify and pushback on what he called “mischaracterizations” of the situation, and was told not to do so by officials.

232 undocumented immigrants were detained in a recent Northern California sweep. 115 of those had felonies or misdemeanors on their records.

President Trump’s statement about Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff, who notified the community about a planned ICE raid February 25, was tweeted by Fox & Friends:

The Washington Post reports Attorney General Jeff Sessions characterized the impact of Schaaf’s actions at an event in Sacramento:

"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 dangerous situations, all because of one mayor’s irresponsible action."

ICE Acting Director Thomas D. Homan made a similar statement:

"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. Unlike the politicians who attempt to undermine ICE’s critical mission, our officers will continue to fulfill their sworn duty to protect public safety."

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle Monday, Schwab offered a different view, arguing that the numbers presented were misleading because the raid would never have picked up 100 percent of the undocumented immigrants identified:

"I didn’t feel like fabricating the truth to defend ourselves against (Schaaf’s) actions was the way to go about it. We were never going to pick up that many people. To say that 100 percent are dangerous criminals on the street, or that those people weren’t picked up because of the misguided actions of the mayor, is just wrong."

Schwab maintained that when he asked to clarify the numbers and impact of the February 25 raid, higher ups at ICE suggested he "deflect" questions from the media:

"It’s the job of a public affairs officer to offer transparency for the agency you work for. I felt like we weren’t doing that. I’ve never been in a situation when I’ve been asked to ignore the facts because it was more convenient. It was my first time being asked to do that."

What do you think?

Was Schwab right to resign? Was Mayor Schaaf right to notify her community in advance of the raid? Do you think the characterizations of the situation by Sessions, Homan, and President Trump matter? Why?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(116)
  • Leslie
    03/13/2018
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    Small actions count. One man stood up for the truth. He has more integrity than we’ve seen from our elected officials. I applaud him!

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  • Robert
    03/13/2018
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    Good for him, men with integrity seem few and far between. Doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing to do.

    Like (93)
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  • L0u15e.N032L
    03/13/2018
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    Yes he was right to resign. He is a principled individual and believes the truth needs saying. Apparently this Administration is all about shade, lies and dishonesty. Leads to corruption.

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  • Annmarie
    03/16/2018
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    Trump and Sessions comments are reprehensible. America is supposed to be a nation of freedom, justice, compassion. I am encouraged by the people who stand with courage and integrity against the evil that is Trump.

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  • Mark
    03/16/2018
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    Now, that’s integrity! Something missing from this Administration...

    Like (57)
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  • Chickie
    03/13/2018
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    A little over 2,000 years ago, there were a group of men called Pharisees and Sadducees. These men held themselves above all others, judging and persecuting those who they felt were not good people. Funny how today I can sort-of see what they looked like...Here’s the thing, for every one ‘bad hombre’, there are thousands of men and women who are good, hard working people. They are trying to file the paperwork to legalize their status. However, it costs thousands of dollars to obtain a Visa lawyer; money so many do not have. I applaud Mr. Scwab for stepping down when asked to lie. #45 and his administration need to take heed, when you place yourself high above others, you’ll find it’s a long way down.

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  • Jennifer
    03/16/2018
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    Hmmm...I do not promote untruths anywhere, by anyone. But I find it rich the comments from those who sat silent and cheered on the guy who lied to a nation—repeatedly—to get Obamacare passed. I guess it’s okay to lie to the entire US populace about being able to keep their doctors, about how deductibles would go down, about how their healthcare costs would go down, and how everyone would see $2500 back in their pockets, as long as you agree with it. So one brave man stands up here...how ethical! If only we’d have seen the same ethics play out across the federal govn’t when they all knew Obamacare was a lie and that Obama was lying through his teeth! But he sure did it oh so eloquently!

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  • Dana
    03/16/2018
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    Yes! Yes! Yes! He was right !

    Like (29)
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  • Donna
    03/13/2018
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    Now that this spokesman is unemployed, perhaps he would consider bringing some truth, transparency and trust to the White House press podium? There seems to be a shortage of those characteristics in the briefing room.

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  • Barbara
    03/14/2018
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    This land we call California was at one time all Latino because we took it away from Mexico to begin with as well as Texas. If those of you who back Trump the Fool blindly all need a serious history lesson. Many families were here long before California was ever a state as well as Mexican Americans in Texas. Remember the Alamo?

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  • Kathy
    03/16/2018
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    Good for him for standing on Principle. 45 and Sessions both need to keep their racist views to themselves. If 45 wants to do this country some good go live in Russia with Putin and take Sessions with him. They will both be Happy living with people that look like them.

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  • Diane
    03/13/2018
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    Standing up for truth counts. Sharing truth with the media counts. It is only the media standing in the way of dictatorship at this point, and that is pretty scary!

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  • Fred
    03/13/2018
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    Neither Trump nor Sessions have any compassion for any human beings. They cannot be trusted to make a humane decision. I think it took courage for him to resign rather than enforce a policy he disagreed with. Do know enough about the Mayor situation to comment. Immigration situation is a difficult one but believe the Laws of Humanity need to be followed. In the end we will all be judged on how we treat our fellow man.

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  • wicked-italian
    03/14/2018
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    Schwab showed motal courage. Call me old-fashioned but I think the truth matters, the plain, unvarnished, transparent truth. I wish more public servants valued the truth and conducted themselves like Schwab.

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  • Jayne
    03/16/2018
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    No he should not resign and he should have worked with everyone to help making everything right- doesn’t matter if all not hardened criminals- being in the US illegally is a against the law- try going to another country and hide out and see what happens!!

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  • Lisa
    03/16/2018
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    Its time for TRUMP to resign! He is The Liar-in-Chief

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  • Countryfirst
    03/13/2018
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    BRAVO!! SOMEONE HAS MORALS AND ETHICS..HOW REFRESHING..THE MORON IN CHARGE AND HIS BAND OF COWARDS SHOULD TAKE NOTICE..BUT THEY WON'T.

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  • NotAmused
    03/13/2018
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    Schwab’s statement about his reason for resigning from ICE points to the very reason why California’s elected officials are standing up to the feds. We can disagree about specific actions, but it’s imperative to understand why they do what they do.

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  • TracyEckels
    03/13/2018
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    I can only perceive that Trump is just trying to fulfill his campaign promise to his urbane political party base at the expense of those who are just trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. We are a nation of immigrants and nothing is going to change that fact. We, as a people can’t afford to forget where our ancestors came from. And doing so would be defacing our history and disrespecting our family trees.

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  • Janis
    03/16/2018
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    Trump and Sessions are such an embarrassment to this country. Not only do we have a crook for a President, our Justice Dept is protecting him?!? Wow! I can’t wait until THEY get locked up!!

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