Backlash: Oakland Mayor Slammed for Crying Wolf as ICE Raids Fail to Happen

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf speaks during the 2016 Cannabis Business Summit & Expo on June 22, 2016 in Oakland, Schaaf delivered the closing address on the final day of the three-day long Cannabis Business Summit & Expo. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is facing a backlash from residents and supporters of illegal aliens after she warned the public Saturday about raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials that never happened.

“Earlier today, I learned from multiple credible sources that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is preparing to conduct an operation in the Bay Area, including Oakland, starting as soon as within the next 24 hours,” Schaaf said on Saturday.

But there were no large-scale raids. ICE arrested eleven people in Northern California, according to Bay Area public radio station KQED, but it was not clear if that was related to Schaaf’s warning.

As a result, the surprise that greeted Schaaf’s original warning has “turned to confusion and anger as large-scale immigration sweeps did not materialize,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

Initially, Schaaf was criticized by conservatives for resisting federal law. The mayor’s office even claimed it had received threats, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Now, however, Schaaf is being slammed by immigrant advocates, and even fellow Democrats, the Times notes:

While Schaaf said she was trying to help those who might be arrested, some advocates said it had a different impact.

“The main reaction that people have had has been fear, unfortunately,” said Eleni Wolfe, immigration program director at Centro Legal de la Raza, an Oakland-based advocacy group. “It’s terrifying to hear about the potential of increased enforcement action, and unfortunately that’s the main message that they heard.”

“Broad pronouncements about raids in a city and across a region generate an enormous amount of fear and…generally don’t help families understand exactly what they need to do to protect themselves and their loves ones,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said.

It would have been better, critics say, to inform potential targets of ICE raids of their legal rights and available resources.

Schaaf has a history of radical statements and positions, from declaring she would be prepared to go to jail to resist the Trump administration’s crackdown on sanctuary cities, to asking Oakland residents to make room in their homes for homeless people.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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