Over 230 people have been arrested in a recent immigration sweep in Northern California. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf sent out a tweet last Saturday, Feb. 27, warning the community of raids, which helped hundreds of undocumented immigrants to elude capture, according to authorities. In her tweet, she stated that an immigration operation was expected in the San Francisco area, including Oakland, possibly within 24 hours. “As Mayor of Oakland,” he wrote, “I am sharing this information publicly not to panic our residents, but to protect them.” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan claims Schaaf’s warning enabled over 800 “criminals” to avoid capture.
According to ICE, from Sunday to Wednesday, 232 arrests were made in the Bay Area. According to the agency, 100 of those arrested had criminal records, including convictions for child sex crimes, weapons charges and assault. “ICE has no choice but to continue to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community,” the agency said in a statement.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders criticized Schaaf’s tweet: “I think it’s outrageous that a mayor would circumvent federal authorities and certainly put them in danger by making a move such as that,” she said Thursday, Feb. 28. “And that’s currently under review by the Department of Justice.”
However, Oakland’s mayor stands by her actions. On Wednesday, she said she wasn’t tipped off by official sources about the immigration raids and didn’t disclose specific locations. “It is Oakland’s legal right to be a sanctuary city and we have not broken any laws,” she tweeted on Feb 27. “We believe our community is safer when families stay together.”
Schaaf further reflected in her Feb 27 statement: “We know that law-abiding citizens live in fear of arrest and deportation every day. My priority is for the long-term well-being of Oakland and I know that our city is safer if we share information that leads to community awareness.”