"This is a whole new low to intentionally warn criminals". "Any suggestion to the contrary is irresponsible, speculative and inaccurate", said Lori Haley, ICE Western Region Communications Director.
Here is the full statement from ICE officials on the arrests:This week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) deportation officers have been conducting targeted immigration enforcement operations in the San Francisco area of responsibility, consistent with federal law and agency policy, to arrest individuals who have violated U.S. immigration laws.
"What she did was no better than a gang lookout yelling 'police!' when a police cruiser comes into the neighborhood, except she did it to the entire community", Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an interview Wednesday with Fox News.
The operation was a continuation of ICE's efforts to prioritize enforcement against public safety threats, according to officials. Developer Patrick Kennedy is proposing to build a 1,038-unit housing project, with a 23-story tower, next to the West Oakland BART station, reports Roland Li of the San Francisco Business Times$.
ICE highlighted six arrests of those with prior criminal convictions, including those of alleged gang members who had previously been deported and had also been convicted of violent crimes.
Homan said ICE deportation officers were still able to remove many "public safety threats" from Bay Area streets.
Oakland's sanctuary city laws are some of the toughest in the country.
"My statement on Saturday was meant to give all residents time to learn their rights and know their legal options", Schaaf said in a statement.
ICE has sent repeated hard-line messages since President Donald Trump took office previous year, declaring that undocumented immigrants should "look over [their] shoulder" and that politicians in sanctuary states should be prosecuted.
A spokesperson for ICE said that the agency does not target people for their political views. "This is beyond the pale".
Michael Cardoza, a former Alameda County prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer, believes they could - especially if she received the information about the raids through official sources, which Schaaf insists she did not. "I can't believe it happened".
Helena, who also goes by the name Elizabeth, posted a video on Facebook of ICE officers arresting her husband, with the caption: "Immigration is out this Sunday morning splitting hard working families apart". "ICE has become the chief law enforcement arm of the Trump administration". "We have a criminal justice system", said Schaaf.
"My priority is for the well-being and safety of all residents - particularly our most vulnerable", she said.
"That community is a lot less safe than it would have been", he insisted.
Following the announcement, Schaaf's office was inundated with phone calls and social media messages criticizing the decision. "This is a hard decision I made, I recognize that it's controversial, but I believe it was the right thing to do". The number of ICE detentions and deportations from California has dropped since the state passed the Trust Act in October 2013, which set limits on California state law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
"This raid was intended exclusively to terrorize innocent immigrant families and instill fear in the hearts of our communities", Pelosi said, "not to keep Americans safe".