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ICE Officials Say 232 Arrested During Recent NorCal Operation

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers arrested 232 individuals for violating federal immigration laws in Northern California during a four-day operation that ended Wednesday, according to ICE officials.

The action was focused on what the agency refers to as the San Francisco area of responsibility that extends from the Bakersfield area north to the Oregon border.

During the operation, ICE's enforcement and removal operations arrested 232 individuals for violating U.S. immigration laws. According to the latest ICE press release, 180 of those arrested were either convicted criminals, had been issued a final order of removal and failed to depart the United States or had been previously removed from the United States and returned illegally.

ICE officials said 115 arrestees had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as child sex crimes, weapons charges, and assault or had past convictions for significant or multiple misdemeanors.

The press release detailed some of the arrests, including a previously removed citizen of Mexico taken into custody in San Leandro who has criminal convictions of involuntary manslaughter and domestic violence and a suspect from El Salvador arrested in Vallejo who has multiple criminal convictions for driving under the influence.

The ICE operations in Northern California have spurred controversy and scrutiny since this past weekend when Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf issued a warning about the pending action on Saturday.

Earlier Thursday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the U.S. Justice Department was reviewing Schaaf's warning about the Bay Area ICE raids.

When asked during the daily White House press briefing Thursday about President Donald Trump's reaction to Schaaf, Sanders said: "I think it's outrageous that a mayor would circumvent federal authorities and certainly put them in danger by making a move such as that. And that's currently under review by the Department of Justice, and I don't have anything else to add."

Sanders is just the latest member of the Trump administration to take issue with Schaaf's actions.

ICE acting director Thomas Homan told Fox News earlier this week that the mayor's statement put law enforcement at risk.

"What she did was no better than a gang lookout yelling 'Police!' when a police cruiser comes into the neighborhood, except she did it to the entire community," he said. "These are American heroes, that strap a gun to their hip every day to defend this nation, and to tell the criminals that we're coming in the next 24 hours, is just incredible."

Homan disputed the mayor's claim that the warnings made her community safer, saying 800 people that were targeted in the raids remain at large.

"These are people who are already here illegally and yet committed another crime, and have been convicted of a crime." he said. "She gave them warning, and there were 800 that we were unable to locate because of that warning, so that community is a lot less safe than it would have been."

Schaaf has defended her actions saying it was her "duty and moral obligation as Mayor to give those families fair warning when that threat appears imminent."

Following the announcement, Schaaf's office was inundated with phone calls and social media messages criticizing the decision.

On Wednesday, the mayor continued to defend the warning to immigrants at a news conference.

"I continue to feel confident that what I did was the right thing and was legal," Schaaf told reporters.

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