A spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has stepped down, citing the fact that he could no longer “bear the burden” of regurgitating President Trump’s falsehoods regarding immigrant data, according to The New York Times.
James Schwab worked for ICE’s San Francisco division and said his decision was sparked by a false statement made by the agency on February 27, which was later repeated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
From The New York Times:
The statements criticized the mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, for her decision last month to warn city residents that a raid by federal immigration agents targeting roughly 1,000 people was imminent. The agency’s deputy director, Thomas D. Homan, said that Ms. Schaaf’s warning had helped “864 criminal aliens and public safety threats” to evade capture in the raid.
Mr. Sessions, in a visit to California last week, condemned Ms. Schaaf, a Democrat, and echoed the agency, asserting that her actions had allowed hundreds to escape.
In interviews with various news outlets, Schwab said he quit because he didn’t want to “perpetuate misleading facts.”
“I asked them to change the information,” Schwab told The San Francisco Chronicle, referring to the 864 people to whom the statement alluded. “I told them that the information was wrong, they asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that. Then I took some time and I quit.”
“We were never going to pick up that many people,” he continued. “To say that 100 percent are dangerous criminals on the street, or that those people weren’t picked up because of the misguided actions of the mayor, is just wrong.”
Speaking to CNN, Schwab said that in all of his 16 years of public service, he never was required to obfuscate the truth.
“I just couldn’t bear the burden — continuing on as a representative of the agency and charged with upholding integrity, knowing that information was false,” he said, adding that although he thought Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s actions were “misguided,” blaming her for “800 dangerous people out there is just false.”
Responding to news of Schwab’s resignation, Mayor Schaaf praised him for “speaking the truth while under intense pressure to lie,” adding that “democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard.”
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