The spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) San Francisco field office has resigned after saying he disagreed with the Trump administration’s estimate that nearly 800 illegal immigrants evaded arrest after residents were warned of an impending raid.
“I quit because I didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts,” James Schwab, 38, told the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday. “I asked them to change the information. I told them that the information was wrong, they asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that. Then I took some time and I quit.”
Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said in a statement last month that hundreds of people who were “in violation of federal U.S. immigration laws” were arrested during the agency’s four-day raid of the San Francisco Bay Area. However, 864 others were able to dodge arrest after Oakland’s Democratic mayor, Libby Schaaf, warned residents that ICE would be sweeping the area.
“There’s over 800 significant public safety threat criminals … that we are unable to locate because of that warning, so that community’s a lot less safe than it would’ve been,” Homan said on “Fox & Friends.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also blasted Schaaf for the lack of arrests, shouting “How dare you!” while speaking at an event for California law enforcement last week.
But Schwab said that he “didn’t feel like fabricating the truth to defend [ICE] against (Shaaf’s) actions was the way to go about it.”
“We were never going to pick up that many people. To say that 100 percent are dangerous criminals on the street, or that those people weren’t picked up because of the misguided actions of the mayor, is just wrong,” Schwab told the Chronicle.
Liz Johnson, a spokesperson for ICE in Washington, D.C., told Fox News on Tuesday that “Even one criminal alien on the street can put public safety at risk,” and that “while we can’t put a number on how many targets avoided arrest due to the mayor’s warning, it clearly had an impact.”
Schwab said that he’d “never been in a situation when I’ve been asked to ignore the facts because it was more convenient,” adding it was his job as a spokesperson for ICE to be transparent to the American people.
Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this report.