Oakland, CA – The mayor of Oakland amped up tensions between the city and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials on Saturday night, when she issued a warning to illegal immigrants that the agency was planning to conduct mass arrests throughout the Bay Area.
Schaaff, who is seeking reelection, said that she received information about the impending sweep from “credible sources,” who acted outside of “official channels,” and that she and Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick concluded that the tips were accurate, The Seattle Times reported.
The arrests were expected to take place as early as Sunday, she added.
“I know that Oakland is a city of law-abiding immigrants and families who deserve to live free from the constant threat of arrest and deportation,” Schaaff said in a press conference on Saturday night. “I believe it is my duty and moral obligation as mayor to give those families fair warning when that threat appears imminent.”
Schaaff said that she consulted with “legal counsel” prior to issuing the warning, and that she was “confident that my sharing of this information, because I did not receive it through official channels, is legal,” The Seattle Times reported.
The mayor’s press release ensured illegal immigrants that public school personnel and local law enforcement officers were prohibited from assisting ICE, but that she had “reached out to leaders and partners in our immigrant communities,” as well as officials in nearby cities, to help aid the resistance.
“We understand ICE has used activity rumors in the past as a tactic to create fear,” she said. “Our intent is for our community to go about their daily lives without fear, but resiliency and awareness.”
Schaaff said she had no particular details about where the raids might occur, but that federal officials would be focusing on rounding up immigration violators, not criminals, The Seattle Times reported.
ICE seemed unfazed by the mayor’s attempt to thwart their mission.
"There are ICE operations every day and it is unclear what the mayor is referring to,” the agency responded, according to The Seattle Times.