Oakland Mayor warns residents of potential ICE raids

By Ray Downs  |  Feb. 25, 2018 at 8:55 PM
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Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The Mayor of Oakland, Calif. warned residents Saturday of a potential raid conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In a news release, Mayor Libby Schaaf said she had information from "credible sources" about an immigration sweep in the coming days.

"As Mayor of Oakland, I am sharing this information publicly not to panic our residents but to protect them," Schaaf said. "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."

Schaaf also said she did not know details of any potential ICE sweeps, including locations.

ICE responded to Schaaf's warning with a brief statement.

"There are ICE operations every day and it is unclear what the mayor is referring to," the agency told KGO-TV.

Schaaf said she sought legal advice before issuing her warning.

"I did seek legal counsel about what my obligations are in this situation, and while I'm very committed to being a law-abiding citizen I feel confident that my sharing this information -- because I did not receive it through official channels -- is legal; and frankly, it is my ethical obligation," Schaaf said, accoridng to the Mercury News.

Schaaf's statement Saturday comes less than two months after ICE Director Thomas Homan promised a "400 percent increase" in workplace immigration raids.

Earlier this month, ICE agents raided 77 workplaces in Northern California but did not make any arrests, the San Francisco Gate reported.

California has also become something of a battleground against the Trump administration's promise to crackdown on illegal immigration.

In October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law legislation that makes California a "sanctuary state" by prohibiting local law enforcement from asking about somebody's immigration status or handing suspects to immigration officials without a warrant.

State lawmakers also passed a bill that makes it illegal for employers to give immigration officials information about an employee without a warrant.

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