Obstruction of justice?
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (D) warned on Twitter over the weekend of impending ICE raids, which has caused backlash from the feds.
Schaaf has defended her actions and swore she would protect her city’s status as a sanctuary city.
— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) February 25, 2018
In the press release Schaaf tweeted, she “encouraged all undocumented residents to consult immigration resources” after she found out that ICE planned raids for the Bay Area. She said she didn’t want to scare people, but did this to protect them. From NBC Bay Area:
Although ICE has used activity rumors in the past as a fear tactic, Mayor Schaaf continued to explain that she felt it was her duty to give families a fair warning of a possible threat.
“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,” said Mayor Schaaf in the press release.
Reports indicate that federal agents “detained at least four people in Northern California on Sunday.” We do not know if this was part of the raid Schaaf tweeted about. There haven’t been any arrests in San Francisco.
Schaaf stated that the city will not help ICE with any raids. The Oakland City Council even voted “to clarify that the city’s Police Department won’t provide any assistance, including traffic support, to ICE officials if they conduct any raids in the city.” City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan took issue with a raid in August that had assistance from the department and said that it’s “not acceptable for the Oakland administration to collude with ICE, as this federal agency is targeting non-criminals, harassing people based on their national origin, and undermining our justice system.”
Needless to say, the feds did not rejoice over Schaaf’s announcement. From CBS SF Bay Area:
Former federal prosecutor Tony Brass says putting out a public warning about a planned immigration sweep may have crossed the line.
“She’s on the threshold of obstruction of justice for doing what she did,” Brass said. “Because you put agents in danger. You put the police in danger and you put neighbors in danger.”
Schaaf disagrees. She said, “I was sharing information in a way that was legal and was not obstructing justice, and it was an opportunity to ensure that people were aware of their rights.”
Still, there could be repercussions.
“What’s going to happen is that federal agents are going to stop talking to local police agencies,” Brass said.” And the reason that communication is so vital is for safety. For safety of everybody.”
Media asked Schaaf “if she is willing to go to jail to defend Oakland’s policies” and she gleefully replied YES. She claimed that “[T]he level of fear and anxiety in this community is at unconscionable levels.” She also believes that the city is “exercising” its own right to be a sanctuary city and scoffed at the suggestion that the federal government retaliate “against jurisdictions that are exercising their right to have sanctuary policies.” She believes that is illegal, not her warning people of impending raids.
ICE gave her a refresher:
ICE released a statement Monday saying that sanctuary cities like Oakland are “not immune from federal law” and that their refusal to cooperate by handing over immigration violators with criminal records, both increases the danger of something going wrong in a raid and increases the chances that people who ICE isn’t even looking for will get caught up in the raids as well.
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