Jewish Oakland mayor defends decision to warn community of immigration raid
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Jewish Oakland mayor defends decision to warn community of immigration raid

Libby Schaaf says her Twitter tip-off, which according to authorities prevented arrests of some 800 immigrants, was 'both legal and moral'

In this May 13, 2016 file photo, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf speaks at a news conference in Oakland, California. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
In this May 13, 2016 file photo, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf speaks at a news conference in Oakland, California. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

The Jewish mayor of Oakland, California has defended her decision to warn the community in advance of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid in Northern California.

Mayor Libby Schaaf on Friday said she felt it was her duty to warn local residents of the impending raid, which ended on Wednesday. Schaaf posted the warning on Twitter in the previous weekend.

The tip-off allowed some 800 illegal immigrants to escape arrest, Thomas Homan, ICE’s acting director, told Fox & Friends without giving details. He said her warning was “beyond the pale” and compared her to a gang lookout who tells people when a police car is arriving.

Homan said the Justice Department is looking into whether Schaaf obstructed justice.

Targets often elude authorities because agents don’t have search warrants and advocacy groups have waged public awareness campaigns urging people not to open their doors. Other times, agents have outdated addresses or targets are not home.

The four days of raids last week in Northern California resulted in the arrest of about 230 people.

Demonstrators block an entrance to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices Wednesday, February 28, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

“I remain confident that my actions were both legal and moral,” Schaaf said Friday. “I find it difficult to believe even in today’s America that informing people of their legal rights could be considered illegal,” she added.

The mayor’s actions have escalated tensions between California officials and the Trump administration. Oakland has declared itself a sanctuary city for illegal migrants.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the action by Schaaf “outrageous” in a press conference on Thursday.

“I think it’s outrageous that a mayor would circumvent federal authorities and certainly put them in danger by making a move such as that,” Sanders told reporters. She said Schaaf’s action was “under review,” without offering any other details.

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