The White House is escalating its criticism of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who publicly announced an upcoming series of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids.
Warning residents of the Bay city to keep safe, federal officials from across Washington have come down on what they consider a gross misuse of insider information. Schaaf has been blasted by ICE’s director as well as White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“It’s outrageous that a mayor would circumvent federal authorities and certainly put them in danger by making a movie such as that,” said Sanders at a media briefing Thursday.
Sanders, Politico.com notes, added that Schaaf’s alleged misconduct is under review by the Department of Justice.
The Oakland politician forewarned undocumented migrants just days before raids were due to begin. Schaaf’s office released a written statement on the ICE roundup on Saturday – one day later, she called a news conference.
“I am sharing this information publicly not to panic our residents but to protect them,” said Schaaf. “My priority is for the well-being and safety of all residents – particularly our most vulnerable.”
Hours after the press conference, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deputy director Thomas D. Homan lashed out, accusing Schaaf of spoiling a federal operation with partisan intent.
“The Oakland mayor’s decision to publicize her suspicions about ICE operations further increased that risk for my officers and alerted criminal aliens – making clear this reckless decision was based on her political agenda,” said Homan on Sunday.
While deportations were commonplace during the days of former President Barack Obama, the Trump administration doesn’t discriminate among illegal immigrants. Although ICE claims to be targeting undocumented aliens with criminal histories, its raids have ensnared long-time and otherwise law-abiding members of American communities.
Immigration has become one of the most contentious aspects of the Trump presidency to date. February saw the Senate attempt to reach a resolve the fate of the former beneficiaries of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
President Trump proposed granting amnesty to nearly two million undocumented migrants in exchange for billions of dollars in border wall funding as well as slashes to two immigration programs – the ‘Green Card Lottery’ and ‘chain migration,’ both of which the commander-in-chief has criticized since assuming office.
With the brunt of his anti-immigration rhetoric focused on Mexico and Central America, relations between the United States and southernmost neighbor are stunted. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto recently canceled a tour of America, saying Trump had refused to affirm Mexico’s unwillingness to fund an enhanced border wall.
Thursday also saw the United States’ ambassador to Mexico, Robert Johnson, resign.
Johnson didn’t give a reason for leaving her post – she simply wished her colleagues in the State Department well.
“This decision is all the more difficult because of my profound belief in the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship and knowledge that it is at a crucial moment,” she said.
Crucial may well be an understatement.