ICE spokesman quits, accuses Trump administration of "fabricating the truth"

San Diego area ICE arrests of noncriminal immigrants led nation from October to December

San Diego area ICE arrests of noncriminal immigrants led nation from October to December

The now-former spokesman, James Schwab, told news outlets late Monday that his resignation stemmed from statements by Homan and Sessions that potentially hundreds of "criminal aliens" evaded ICE during a Northern California raid in February because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned the immigrant community in advance.

Schwab understood the number to be lower and he didn't want to deflect media questions about it.

"I quit because I didn't want to perpetuate misleading facts", Schwab told the Chronicle.

"I just couldn't bear the burden - continuing on as a representative of the agency and charged with upholding integrity, knowing that information was false", he told CNN on Monday.

"I've never been in this situation in 16 nearly 17 years in government where someone asked me to deflect when we absolutely knew something was awry - when the data was not correct" he said. "Then I took some time and I quit", Schwab said.

Last week, President Donald Trump doubled down on Homan's earlier criticism that Schaaf's warning of imminent ICE activity tipped off criminals.

"Even one criminal alien on the street can put public safety at risk and as Director Homan stated, while we can't put a number on how many targets avoided arrest due to the mayor's warning, it clearly had an impact", Johnson wrote. "Unlike the politicians who attempt to undermine ICE's critical mission, our officers will continue to fulfill their sworn duty to protect public safety".

"According to Acting Director Homan, ICE failed to make 800 arrests that they would have made if the mayor had not acted as she did".

Schaaf praised Schwab's action.

"I didn't feel like fabricating the truth to defend ourselves against [the mayor's] actions was the way to go about it", Schwab told the Chronicle. It's a false statement because we never pick up 100 percent of our targets. "To say that 100 percent are risky criminals on the street, or that those people weren't picked up because of the misguided actions of the mayor, is just wrong". Schwab went on to tell an Oakland Fox affiliate that the operation was expected to arrest "far fewer" than the 232 suspected undocumented people it did. ICE, he said, never arrests 100 percent of the people it targets for operation. "But to blame her for 800 risky people out there is just false", Schwab added. His service lasted until 2005, according to his LinkedIn page, and he later joined the Department of Defense, where he became a public affairs specialist in 2011.

ICE could not immediately be reached for comment by The Post regarding Schwab's assertions that it had released false and misleading information.

ICE spokesperson Liz Johnson issued the following statement regarding Schwab's resignation.

According to ICE, of the 232 people picked up in the raid, 115, or roughly half, had felonies or misdemeanors on their records.

Mayor Schaaf told The Washington Post in an interview earlier this month that she made a decision to warn the immigrant community of the impending ICE raid for fear that the operation was not wholly targeting "criminals", and that, instead, hard-working mothers or fathers without criminal records might end up arrested and deported.

"Personally I think her actions were misguided and not responsible".

"I commend Mr. Schwab for speaking the truth while under intense pressure to lie", she said in a statement to The Post.

"Our democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard", she added.

"They were all set, this was long in the planning and she said get out of here and she's telling that to criminals", Trump said.

Schwab said he took issue with their characterization.

"It's the job of a public affairs officer to offer transparency for the agency you work for", he told the Chronicle. "I felt like we weren't doing that", he said.

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