A top spokesperson for the despised Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency just had a major meltdown and abruptly quit over the racist lies that Trump’s political appointees asked him to push.
Former ICE San Francisco spokesman James Schwab quit rather than peddle false public relations attacks against Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, defying the orders he received from ICE Director Thomas Homan and Attorney General Jefferson Sessions.
When Schwab stood up to his bosses and told them that their racist messages about “criminal aliens” and this ICE public statement were filled with lies, they instructed him to “deflect” and to engage in a cover-up.
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But James Schwab (finally) took a stand for the truth and left ICE because he wouldn’t couldn’t stand to carry water for Trump and Sessions’ white nationalist agenda.
The Chronicle reports:
Schwab said the statements about immigrants evading arrest, which were widely quoted in an array of media outlets, were misleading “because we were not ever going to be able to capture 100 percent of the target list” of roughly 1,000 undocumented immigrants in Northern California.
“I didn’t feel like fabricating the truth to defend ourselves against (Oakland Mayor Schaaf’s) actions was the way to go about it,” he said. “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.”
Schwaab explained to Oakland’s Fox News affiliate that the 232 arrests – recorded in a raid specifically timed to coincide with AG Sessions’ publicity stunt lawsuit against the state of California – were actually statistically far higher than would normally be expected.
ICE noted that only 115 of the immigrants detained had felony criminal records, meaning that the other 117 arrests were for innocent people for decades considered a low priority for federal agents – meaning guilty of nothing but being born in the wrong geographic coordinates.
But Trump’s immigration appointees maintained an entirely different story according to the Washington Post:
Just last week, in Sacramento, Sessions said, “Those are 800 wanted criminals that are now at large in that community — 800 wanted criminals that ICE will now have to pursue with more difficulty in more dangerous situations, all because of one mayor’s irresponsible action.”
Homan said in a statement that “864 criminal aliens and public safety threats remain at large in the community, and I have to believe that some of them were able to elude us thanks to the mayor’s irresponsible decision. Unlike the politicians who attempt to undermine ICE’s critical mission, our officers will continue to fulfill their sworn duty to protect public safety.”
In the end, the former ICE spokesman hasn’t been shy about speaking out over his bosses’ casual use of American law enforcement for political reasons.
“Director Homan and the Attorney General said there were 800 people at large and free to roam because of the actions of the Oakland Mayor. But to blame her for 800 dangerous people out there is just false.” James Schwab told CNN bluntly, “I just couldn’t bear the burden — continuing on as a representative of the agency and charged with upholding integrity, knowing that information was false.”
The Trump Administration has focused primarily on eroding the rule of law, especially when it comes to making money for their friends, covering up their lies, their Russian ties or anything else of personal gain, while law enforcement officials have been tasked to carry out a campaign of terror and abuse against immigrants and people of color.
While James Schwab should be commended for his decision to value truth and integrity over his paycheck, it really shouldn’t have taken him this long. The ever-growing list of horrifying human rights abuses being committed by ICE on a weekly basis should be enough to prompt everyone to do some serious soul-searching about the role of law enforcement in immigration.