Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and the Department of Justice Go Head-to-Head On Immigration

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232 undocumented Northern Californians were rounded up last week by Immigration Control Enforcement agents. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced on Tuesday that its agents had made the arrests in a three-day sweep starting Sunday and covering cities that included Sacramento and Stockton in the Central Valley.

In January, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf claimed that she’s willing to go to jail to protect her undocumented citizens and defend sanctuary city policies. Now, she’s showing that she means it. Prior to the raid, on February 24th, Mayor Schaaf put out a press release stating she had received information from multiple sources that a raid would occur in the San Francisco Bay Area. That press release has now become a pivotal moment in the national immigration debate.

She has faced backlash for her actions: ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan gave her flack for her choice stating that “[sanctuary] jurisdictions like San Francisco and Oakland shield dangerous criminal aliens from federal law enforcement at the expense of public safety,”

In her press release Schaaf says “my priority is for the well-being and safety of all Oakland residents — particularly our most vulnerable — and I know that Oakland is safer when we share information, encourage community awareness, and care for our neighbors.”

Mayor Schaaf has also been turning to twitter to defend herself.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Sessions gave a speech at the 26th Annual Law Enforcement Legislative Day in Sacramento, California. In the speech, Sessions said ICE failed to make about 800 arrests because of Mayor Schaaf’s warning. Sessions’ message to her was “How dare you? How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of law enforcement just to promote your radical open borders agenda?”

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on March 6th challenging the State of California for its sanctuary laws. While the timing leaves Sessions talking about Schaaf, the lawsuit is actually focused on three laws the state passed back in 2017 that limit government officials’ and employers’ ability to help federal immigration agents. It also gives California the power to review conditions in facilities where immigrants are being detained by the feds. The DOJ under Sessions is aiming to undo that, which explains his appearance and speech on California today.

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