More than 150 illegal immigrants have been taken into federal custody after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents conducted a sweep throughout the Bay Area. Half of those arrested had criminal convictions the agency said.
ICE officials say that up to 900 more illegal immigrants are being targeted for arrest, including at least two who are believed to be in Oakland. While announcing the arrests, ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan said that Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf had been "reckless" and "irresponsible" for her decision to warn residents about the impending ICE operation last Saturday.
On Saturday, the Oakland Mayor's office issued a statement warning Bay Area residents about the impending ICE operation and that Mayor Schaaf was sharing the intel about the raids to protect her residents.
""My priority is for the well-being and safety of all residents - particularly our most vulnerable," she wrote. "And I know that Oakland is safer when we share information, encourage community awareness, and care for our neighbors."
Homan blasted the mayor's decision in a release announcing the arrests.
"The Oakland mayor's decision to publicize her suspicions about ICE operations further increased that risk for my officers and alerted criminal aliens - making clear that this reckless decision was based on her political agenda," Homan said.
Homan wrote that he believed that because of Schaaf's warning, at least 864 immigrants with criminal records remained at large. "I have to believe that some of them were able to elude us thanks to the mayor's irresponsible decision."
Schaaf dismissed Homan's criticism on Tuesday, saying she didn't regret sharing the intel.
It is Oakland's legal right to be a sanctuary city and we have not broken any laws," she wrote. "We know that law-abiding residents live in fear of arrest and deportation every day. My priority is for the long-term well-being of Oakland, and I know that our city is safer when we share information that leads to community awareness."
Oakland declared itself a 'Sanctuary City' meaning local law enforcement is not allowed to assist federal agents making arrests relating to immigration violations. California and the federal government have been at odds over immigration policy ever since President Donald Trump took office and stepped up the enforcement of immigration laws.
The California Legislature passed a law that barred state and local law enforcement agencies from using their resources to help federal immigration authorities make arrests. The new law has been a point of contention between California officials and politicians in Washington who have vowed to pour money into border security.
The new round of raids follow a series of arrests in Los Angeles in which 212 people illegal immigrants were picked up in a sweep of the area.
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