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Schaaf blasts back in defense of immigrants

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Despite allegations that Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf violated federal law by notifying the public last weekend in advance of a massive immigration sweep targeting roughly 1,100 people, she said Wednesday it was the right thing to do and she’s confident that her actions were fully legal.

Schaaf said Wednesday during a news conference at City Hall:

“What I did was my job as the mayor of Oakland and reflective of the values of the people I represent.:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan issued a statement Tuesday blasting Schaaf’s “reckless decision” and calling out sanctuary cities like Oakland and San Francisco for shielding “dangerous criminal aliens from federal law enforcement at the expense of public safety.”

Schaaf pushed back against those claims Wednesday morning, pointing out that violent crime rates in Oakland have actually gone down over the last five years despite the city’s sanctuary status:

“I hope we take this moment to recognize that we have to fight against the racist myth the Trump administration is trying to perpetuate, that immigrants are dangerous criminals. … There is nothing farther from the truth. Ample evidence shows that American-born citizens are actually more likely to commit crimes than immigrants.”

Although some immigrants do commit crimes, Schaaf said the criminal justice system already in place is adequate to address those issues without reliance on ICE, which has been deporting immigrants with no criminal record under the Trump administration:

“We have a criminal justice system, we should let it work, we should not conflate it with our broken immigration system.”

At one point Schaaf was asked if she believes Oakland is being targeted by the federal government, to which she responded:

“Let’s be clear about political retaliation: The Trump administration and ICE have already stated that they are targeting California and sanctuary cities like Oakland because of our political stand. Political retaliation should not be tolerated in a democratic America.”

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