California Mayor narcs on ICE, faces charges

Q: Should Oakland, California Mayor Libby Schaaf have alerted illegal immigrants about the impending ICE raid? 

By Sarah Sidlow

When Oakland, California, Mayor Libby Schaaf found out about an impending U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid in her district, the progressive mayor didn’t just keep it to herself.

Instead, Schaaf held a press conference to let families know when and where ICE would be conducting raids.

Schaaf has since been lambasted for her public announcement, which many have criticized for being reckless. Critics argue that by tipping off ICE targets, some of whom are known criminals, Schaaf imperiled the federal agents responsible for making the arrests. Those critics point to the notion that many people living in California (or anywhere) illegally either have criminal convictions or some sort of connection to criminal activity. And when you’re confronting a potentially dangerous person about leaving the country, it’s best that they don’t know you’re about to knock on their door.

Moreover, the federal agency has said, many of the 864 ICE targets are still at large, thanks in large part to Schaaf’s impromptu presser.

Others claim that Schaaf’s decision may be grounds for obstruction-of-justice charges—since she deliberately impeded the agency’s ability to efficiently and effectively round up targets.

But Schaaf defends her decision as a moral obligation. In an interview with The Washington Post, she cited her “deep disagreement” with the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies as the reason she not only made the announcement, but would do it again, too.

If you’ve been paying attention, Schaaf’s sentiment should come as no surprise: Last month, she told reporters she was willing to go to jail to defend Oakland’s “sanctuary city” policy of protecting immigrants who are in the country illegally. (Quick refresher: There’s no legal “sanctuary city” designation, but some American city officials have designated their cities as places where ICE won’t get extra help tracking down people with questionable immigration statuses.)

She says that while some of the 864 Californians who are there illegally are criminals, many—perhaps most—are far from it. In recent interviews, she’s referenced the story of Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, a 46-year-old mother of four and nurse at an Oakland hospital who was deported to Mexico with her husband after more than 20 years in the United States. Neither had criminal records.

Under the Obama administration, cases like Mendoza’s would have been considered low-priority for deportation. Her immigration status is an issue, yes—but Mendoza is still a functioning, helpful member of our society, and we’re probably better off because she’s here. But times have changed, and deportation stories like Mendoza’s are
now commonplace.

Regarding possible charges, Schaaf has said that she consulted her legal counsel before making the decision to spread the word. And because she obtained the information from unofficial sources, rather than through government channels, she doesn’t believe she obstructed justice or violated any law.

 


An Advocate for the People

Mayor Schaaf took an ethical stand

By Patrick Bittner

Justice, rights, and ethics. Those are the three things that the mayor supported. Mayor Libby Schaaf emphasized that it was not so much a political stunt — yes she opposes Trump, but a sign of solidarity that the Federal government cannot decide who gets to live and die, which in many cases these situations boil down to. This ultimately is not a debate of who can threaten and terrorize people through deportation, but who is responsible to do so. As the Mayor stated earlier, she is an advocate for the people of her town and by alerting a community that they were under threat she demonstrated just that. Each layer of government in this country has its own set of responsibilities and subsequently, rules. It is not the duty of the city level offices to enforce federal immigration standards. What the mayor did is completely within her realm of responsibility and in truth, is a much braver thing than deporting a few hundred
human beings.

While ICE contends that Libby Schaaf did highly immoral, albeit admittedly not illegal, things in this situation, they are not accepting the immorality of their own actions. And let’s be clear, I do not blame the individual Immigration Agents for their actions, but rather the greater culture of fear and distrust that their superiors are creating. Furthermore, it needs to be stated that this is not at all about immigrants taking jobs from citizens or running wild and destroying the very fabric of the culture of this country, it is nothing more than an institutionalized way for the President to run his undoubtedly racist and dramatic agendas. As far as the individuals being “criminals,” technically it is no stretch of the imagination to assume that since they are in the country without proper documentation, they are breaking the law, because again, technically they are. So if every individual is a suspected criminal, the proper channels need to be followed. No these people are not American citizens, yet they are still Americans. They deserve at least a show of due process before the ability to fundamentally take away their lives is removed. As the Supreme Court recently ruled that immigrants, especially legal ones, could be held indefinitely without being tried or convicted of a crime, the state of this issue becomes so much more dire. As Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissenting opinion from the February case, Jennings v. Rodriguez, “We need only recall the words of the Declaration of Independence,” Breyer said, “in particular its insistence that all men and women have ‘certain unalienable Rights,’ and that among them is the right to ‘Liberty.’“ Adding that the ruling was legal fiction, stating “Whatever the fiction, would the Constitution leave the Government free to starve, beat, or lash those held within our boundaries?” Breyer argued. “If not, then, whatever the fiction, how can the Constitution authorize the Government to imprison arbitrarily those who, whatever we might pretend, are in reality right here in the United States?” Breyer added, “No one can claim, nor since the time of slavery has anyone to my knowledge successfully claimed, that persons held within the United States are totally without constitutional protection.”

While the Constitution can be deemed to only concern citizens of this great nation, it is more than just a contract between us and the government that represents us, it is in itself a representation of what we are. It is the people saying that they will not stand for injustice and inequality. That should not end when the right to vote is removed. Immigrants pay the same taxes, they drive on the same roads, they watch the same television shows, and overwhelmingly they follow the rules of this society, often better than people that were born into it. Why then should they expect any less of a deal from the social contract this county is built upon? While it would be easy and convenient to simply remove these families from this land, it would not be the American way. While it would be easy to simply not argue this topic, it would not be the American way. While writing off human beings as less than that, making them out to be anything other than people who are searching for a better way in the world would be easy, it would not be the American way. We are a country built on the ideas of hard work, freedom, and family. That more than anything is exactly what these people are searching for and exactly what we, as the United States of America, should give to them.

 


Putting Law and Order on ICE

Oakland favors criminals over the innocent

By Don Hurst

Mayor Schaaf was wrong to alert illegal aliens prior to the lawful ICE operations conducted in the Oakland area. ICE places violent offenders higher on their priority list. They wanted to remove dangerous people with a history of preying on Oakland citizens from the country. The criminals Schaaf helped evade law enforcement will thank her by committing more offenses against the citizens she swore to protect.

Mayor Schaaf would have Americans believe that ICE is out there with the sole mission of ripping families apart. Jackbooted police officers are kicking down doors, brandishing pistols at all the little nińos and the elderly abuelas. That is pure hysterics. ICE’s statistics for the fiscal year of 2017 show that 92% of arrestees had
criminal histories.

Yes, Mayor Schaaf’s example of law enforcement arresting a working mom just trying to provide for her kids and deporting her is true. What Schaaf doesn’t address are the multiple felonies that even the most innocent of illegal aliens commits. It takes a lot of document fraud and identity theft to keep an illegal earning a paycheck from a legitimate company.

Typically what happens is an illegal will obtain a social security number that already belongs to an American citizen. The black market focuses on children’s identities because kids aren’t buying cars and houses so it can take a few years to discover that an eight-year-old in Ohio works at a meat packing plant in Colorado and drives a Honda. Then they elect the minimum withholding on their W-2s so that the government takes less money from their paychecks. That’s fine if they pay their taxes, but they don’t. Eventually, the IRS comes knocking demanding back taxes and interest.

I would much rather someone steal my identity than murder me, but fraud is still a real crime. According to LifeLock statistics, this victimless crime costs Americans billions of dollars a year and time fighting the IRS and creditors.

But let’s talk about more dramatic crimes like assault, child molestation, and murder. I’m not saying that all illegals are violent felons, but over half of the suspects on ICE’s Oakland list were. How is Oakland safer by allowing these people to escape?

Working for over 20 years in law enforcement and military circles, I can tell you that cops would much rather arrest violent felons than nińos and abuelas. When we get together over beers and tell stories, no one brags about the families they separated. It’s all murderers and rapists. Even traffic cops tend to tell the legend of the broken taillight stop that netted 100 pounds of Columbian White.

These are the types of criminals ICE really wants. Anti-enforcement activists like to scare the public with images of an omnipresent federal agency snatching up all the brown people who don’t speak English real good. Even if the head of ICE dreamed of making America white again the impracticalities of such a strategy would paralyze the agency. In the immortal words of Internet sensation Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” Cops take sick days. They go on vacation. They retire. They do not have time for broad unfocused enforcement. Logistics demands a priority list.

Mayor Schaaf had an opportunity to influence that list and aim federal law enforcement at violent predators that hurt her city. Oakland cops could have provided intelligence on drug dealers and gang bangers. Even just notifying ICE of the illegals in Oakland jails who have committed other crimes could have kept federal agents from swarming the Bay area. Just a tiny bit of cooperation would have kept ICE too busy dealing with tier one offenders to mess with the working class whose worst crime is identity theft.

Schaaf could have negotiated a compromise where federal laws were upheld in a way that was best for Oakland. Instead of being a grown-up adult leader, she chose to squander all her credibility on a futile stunt. A stunt that insured Schaaf press coverage and that those more innocent offenders were the ones snatched up. With advanced warning, who has the most advantage for running from the cops? Criminals. Individuals with actual roots, like jobs and kids, move slower. They are the low-hanging fruit, that sick gazelle that gets eaten.

Tipping off illegals to the impending raid gained Oakland nothing. ICE will return. It’s not like they are going to give up enforcing constitutionally upheld laws. Schaaf has given the federal government all the rationale in the world not to work with Oakland.

In fact, this will be the excuse not to coordinate with any local authorities in California. When ICE returns they will act unilaterally. Without on-the-ground intelligence, the feds might not affect arrests that would benefit the city. They might just grab that low-hanging fruit.

Is the idea of deporting criminals really that controversial? There has to be a middle ground between the sanctuary for everyone, including rapists and murderers, and the white-is-all-right brigade. Getting rid of criminals seems like something that we should all be able to get behind.

 

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Reach DCP editor Sarah Sidlow at SarahSidlow@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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