ICE spokesman resigns, citing fabrications about Calif. immigrant arrests

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

James Schwab, former regional spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department (ICE), told the San Francisco Chronicle he has quit his job that he held since 2015 after agency officials would not correct the number, which he believed to be much lower, and asked him to deflect questions from the media about it.

San Francisco Division ICE spokesman James Schwab made a decision to leave because he felt Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Acting ICE Director Tom Homan had mischaracterized the circumstances of illegal immigrants in Oakland, Calif., reports CNN.

He also told CNN that, typically, ICE never arrests 100 percent of people it initially targets in an operation, creating a misleading picture that the missed arrests in the recent Northern California operation were unusual.

Schwab said he brought up his concerns to ICE leadership and was told to "deflect to previous statements".

"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, both Homan and Sessions heavily criticized Oakland Mayor Libby Scaaf for warning the public about immigration raids "as soon as within the next 24 hours".

"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.

"Those are 800 wanted criminals that are now at large in that community - 800 wanted criminals that ICE will now have to pursue with more difficulty in more unsafe situations, all because of one mayor's irresponsible action", Sessions had said.

"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.

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ICE said while they disagreed with Schwab's take on the issue, they wished him well. We were never going to pick up that many people.

Meanwhile, President Trump, who called Schaaf a disgrace during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, said ICE was prepared to arrest "close to 1,000 people", but only got "a fraction" of that thanks to Schaaf. "To say. that those people weren't picked up because of the misguided actions of the mayor, is just wrong".

Asked about the disputed figures, an ICE spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., Jennifer Elzea, did not respond directly in an email. A spokesperson instead referred to Homan's original statement regarding the 864 people "at large".

ICE could not immediately be reached for comment by The Post regarding Schwab's assertions that it had released false and misleading information. Jordon Dyrdahl-Roberts wrote a piece in mid-February detailing his hard decision to resign as legal secretary for the Montana Department of Labor and Industry because he didn't want to help process documents that could help ICE track down and deport undocumented immigrants. However, whereas Dyrdahl-Roberts previously told the Daily Dot that his resignation was a direct action to impede ICE's function, Schwab told the Fox affiliate that said he "may not agree" with all of Mayor Schaaf's actions in warning undocumented immigrants about the raid.

Their claims were questioned by critics - and now by Schwab, a veteran public affairs officer who had worked at the Defense Department and NASA.

"How dare she say we are terrorizing communities?"

Of the battle over how to properly characterize the events, Schwab said, "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". "It was my first time being asked to do that".

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