When Oakland, Ca., Mayor Libby Schaaf tipped residents off last year that immigration agents would be conducting enforcement operations, President Donald Trump called her actions a “disgrace.” A Republican congressman from Iowa proposed criminal penalties for officials in sanctuary cities who make similar disclosures. The acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director at the time, Thomas Homan, said Schaaf was “no better than a gang lookout yelling ‘police!’ when a police cruiser comes in the neighborhood.” Then, Trump himself announced impending immigration operations. “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump tweeted on June 17. Trump later announced those operations were being postponed. Now, ICE is expected to pursue at least 2,000 immigrants beginning Sunday. The Trump administration, it seemed, had pulled a Libby Schaaf, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Critics say Trump is drumming up support for his re-election campaign and believe tweets and leaks have removed the element of surprise for ICE. “I’ve never seen anything like this, where they’re highlighting an operation in advance,” said John Sandweg, who headed ICE under President Obama. “Those people who were in the agency criticizing the Oakland mayor, I don’t think you can credibly say there’s a distinction here between what the administration has done.” Said Schaaf: “I … find it a bit ironic that a president who was so critical of my informing my community about the potential of a raid has himself now warned the entire nation.” ICE typically conducts large-scale operations three or four times during the year. If suspects know where and when officers are coming, they can either avoid the situation entirely or become confrontational, said Sid Heal, a retired L.A. County sheriff’s commander.