But Schaaf shrugged off the president’s comment with a smile. “I am proud to live in a country where everyone can criticize elected officials,” she told a reporter in a video her office provided to HuffPost.
Much of the criticism of Schaaf’s decision to warn residents about raids has come from outside her community, she said Thursday.
“I’m so appreciative of the Oakland community ... the feelings of being supported, of being heard, of being stood up for, those have been really wonderful for me to hear,” she added.
After learning late last month that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was planning local raids, Schaaf warned residents to take precautions, saying it was her “duty and moral obligation” to warn her constituents. Oakland is a “city of law-abiding immigrants and families who deserve to live free from the constant threat of arrest and deportation,” Schaaf said.
How dare you vilify members of our community by trying to frighten the American public into thinking that all undocumented residents are dangerous criminals? Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
Schaaf’s action catapulted her to national prominence and to the heart of an increasingly heated battle between the Trump administration and cities and states over undocumented immigrants.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also attacked Schaaf on Wednesday. “How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical open-borders agenda?” he challenged her during a speech in Sacramento.
Schaaf responded: “How dare you vilify members of our community by trying to frighten the American public into thinking that all undocumented residents are dangerous criminals?”
Sessions claimed that ICE would have arrested some 800 undocumented immigrants had Schaaf not tipped off Oakland residents.
Trump said Thursday: “Where they had close to a thousand people ready to be gotten, ready to be taken off the streets. Many of them, they say 85 percent of them were criminals, had criminal records.” He did not provide the source of that figure or elaborate on the nature of the alleged crimes.
Sessions filed a lawsuit against California this week, challenging three laws that make it a so-called “sanctuary state” for undocumented immigrants. One of the laws blocks local police from sharing certain information about immigrants with federal authorities. Another bars employers from turning over workers’ records to federal authorities unless officials have court orders forcing them to do so.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) angrily slammed Sessions’ lawsuit as a “political stunt,” saying he sounded more like a “Fox News” host than a “law enforcement official.”
Brown said the administration was “initiating a reign of terror against California immigrants.”
The governor said the administration’s actions constitute “going to war against the state of California, the engine of the American economy.”
“It’s not wise, it’s not right and it will not stand,” Brown said.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors issued a strong statement against Sessions’ lawsuit on Wednesday.
“The United States Conference of Mayors today stands firmly united with mayors across the state of California,” the statement read. “The Attorney General’s decision to yet again threaten mayors and demonize our immigrant communities only strengthens our resolve to fight for what is just as we enforce the laws of our cities. It is unfortunate that the Attorney General continues to ignore both the Constitution and policing practices that have made our cities safer.”
Here’s Schaaf’s original statement warning Oakland residents about ICE raids: