‘I am not obstructing justice, I am seeking it’: Oakland mayor fires back at Trump after warning immigrants about raids

The mayor's warning kept federal immigration enforcement from arresting as many as 800 people, according to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Clark Mindock
New York
Saturday 19 May 2018 16:04 BST
Pro-immigration protesters pictured at a rally in New Jersey
Pro-immigration protesters pictured at a rally in New Jersey (Getty)

The mayor of Oakland is pushing back on President Donald Trump’s claims that she obstructed justice by warning undocumented immigrants of an impending federal raid.

Mayor Libby Schaaf, a Democrat, wrote in a weekend op-ed that it was her “duty” to warn immigrants about the raid, which was set to target around 1,000 people living in the Bay Area earlier this year.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has indicated that a tweet from the mayor prevented the arrest of as many as 800 people.

“As mayor, it’s my duty to protect my residents — especially when our most vulnerable are unjustly attacked. As a leader, it’s my duty to call out this administration’s anti-immigrant fearmongering for what it is: a racist lie,” Ms Schaaf wrote in The Washington Post.

“Mr President, I am not obstructing justice. I am seeking it,” she continued.

Mr Trump has focused on Ms Schaaf several times since the tweet, which the mayor said was intended to help make sure that people were prepared, remained calm, and knew their legal rights. Just last week, the president reportedly told his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, that he should consider prosecuting the California mayor.

The Justice Department has filed suit against California over its so-called “sanctuary” policies, which are efforts by local leadership to limit the amount of cooperation between local police and national immigration enforcement.

Mr Sessions, in the lawsuit announced in March, targeted Ms Schaaf specifically, and asked why she would “needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical open borders agenda.”

Ms Schaaf denies that she put any police or immigration officials in danger through her promotion of sanctuary policies.

In her article, the Oakland mayor argues that America’s immigration system is broken, and that the lack of access to legal pathways into the United States is endangering American communities that are now forced to increasingly rely on undocumented work forces.

She also claims that studies show undocumented immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than those of American citizens. Oakland, and other diverse communities like it, have seen a drop in crime rates, she writes.

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