Federal agents arrested more than 150 people suspected of violating immigration laws during a three-day sweep across Northern California. About half of those arrested have criminal convictions. A top Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said he thought others were able to elude arrest after the Oakland mayor alerted the public about the upcoming raids, the Los Angeles Times reports. ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan blasted “sanctuary” laws in San Francisco and Oakland, saying they endanger immigration officers who aren’t allowed in jails and must make more arrests in the community. “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 with the very federal laws that ICE is sworn to uphold,” Homan said.
He said 864 immigrants with criminal histories are still at large. “I have to believe that some of them were able to elude us thanks to the mayor’s irresponsible decision,” Homan said. Among those at large are an Oakland resident who was convicted of carrying a firearm and selling drugs, and another suspected of transporting cocaine and having sex with a minor, said ICE’s James Schwab. Immigration detainers lodged against them have been “repeatedly ignored,” he said. “Instead they have been released back into the community to potentially reoffend.” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf sent out an alert Saturday night, saying she had heard from multiple sources that immigration agents would be conducting enforcement operations “starting as soon as within the next 24 hours.” Schaaf said later, “It was my intention that one mother, or one father, would use the information to help keep their family together. It is Oakland’s legal right to be a sanctuary city and we have not broken any laws.”