On Sunday, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency began sweeps in the Bay Area including Oakland. More than 150 people have been arrested and detained, half of which were said to have had previous criminal convictions. Many cities in the Bay Area are sanctuary cities, including San Francisco and Oakland. Because of the non-cooperation of local government and law enforcement with ICE in these sanctuary cities, Trump has threatened to pull ICE out of California completely.
On Saturday, prior to the raids, Oakland major Libby Schaaf issued a warning to her constituents that ICE was planning a raid in the Bay Area. She mentioned “multiple credible sources” in her warning and ended her statement by saying, “I believe it is my duty and moral obligation as Mayor to give those families fair warning when that threat appears imminent” (Schaaf). The message was posted to her twitter page and spread quickly. Calls to immigration hotlines have increased as fear and uncertainty came with the warning.
In statements issued in the days after the raids, ICE blamed Mayor Schaaf for the number of undocumented immigrants that were not arrested, calling her decision to issue a warning an “irresponsible one”. Many critics of sanctuary cities have commented that those that stand in the way of ICE should be arrested. While this has been ruled unconstitutional, Schaaf has stated that she would be willing to go to jail for the safety of her city.
VERDICT: As mayor of Oakland, it is Schaaf’s right and duty to protect her constituents, which is exactly what she did by issuing that statement. Around half of those arrested in Sunday’s raid did not have any criminal record. Immigrants have a right to feel safe in their communities and living in constant fear of surprise raids is sickening.