OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Just hours after the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to end any cooperation with agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Mayor Libby Schaaf said Wednesday she would go to jail if needed in her opposition to ICE raids.
"It is no surprise that the bully in chief is continuing to try to intimidate our most vulnerable residents," said Schaaf, referring to President Donald Trump. "We're very clear that our values are to protect all of our residents regardless of where we come from. We want to protect families, not tear them apart."
Schaaf's remarks came on a day when rumors were swirling that ICE planned to launch a series of Bay Area raids -- arresting as many as 1,500 illegal aliens -- because California has become a Sanctuary State and several communities have adopted Sanctuary City policies.
"We are exercising our legal right to be a Sanctuary City and to protect our residents," Schaaf told KPIX 5 of her opposition to ICE raids. "The fact that the federal government is suggesting that it is actively retaliating against jurisdictions that are exercising their right to have sanctuary policies -- that is what is illegal."
When asked if she were willing to go to jail to defend those policies, Schaaf answered emphatically "Yes!"
Schaaf said the reports of pending raids have escalated fears among the local immigrant community. Schaaf stressed that police won't help ICE officials or agents if they conduct raids in her city.
"The level of fear and anxiety in this community is at unconscionable levels," she said. "The important thing for people to know is that we have a 24/7 rapid response hotline which is partially funded by the city, the county and philanthropy. We are here to protect our residents."
She said the rapid response operation has more than $1 million funding and will come to the legal aid of any Oakland resident detained in an ICE raid.
Late Tuesday night, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to end any cooperation with ICE agents amid the reports the feds were planning to launch a series of major Bay Area raids.
Schaaf reiterated the council's stand.
"We will not have a presence, we will not do anything to suggest that we condone ICE raids in Oakland," she said.
City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan introduced the legislation to clarify that Oakland's police department is to not collude with ICE including providing traffic support.
The measure came after a firestorm of controversy over Oakland police's role in an August 2017 raid where a person was detained and now faces deportation. Despite Oakland being a Sanctuary City, OPD officers provided traffic support for ICE agents executing the raid.
"It is NOT acceptable for the Oakland administration to collude with ICE, as this Federal agency is targeting non-criminals, harassing people based on their national origin, and undermining our justice system," Kaplan said. "The head of ICE under Trump has publicly stated that his intention is to strike fear into communities, and now he is targeting California and cities like Oakland."
Kaplan reacted to comments made by Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan to Fox News.
He said that "California better hold on tight" adding that "if California lawmakers don't want to protect their communities, then ICE will."
In its Wednesday morning editions, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted a source that ICE was preparing to launch a series of raids in San Francisco and other Bay Area communities that would arrest more than 1,500 undocumented immigrants.
"Trump's head of ICE issued a threat against public officials who oppose the targeting of immigrants, and also threatened the safety of the public, directing that more ICE agents enter California communities, arrest people in public spaces, and target people based on national origin rather than focusing on serious crimes," the Oakland councilwoman said.
"This behavior is entirely inappropriate for someone running a law enforcement agency, as it perpetuates racial prejudice, and weakens the community-police relations that are vital to stopping serious crime," said Kaplan
"I continue to stand opposed to such actions, and will continue to denounce, and refuse to collude in, Trump's racist agenda. I call upon the Oakland Administration to ensure that there will be no further collusion with ICE, and to retract their prior statements in support of the conduct of ICE in our community."
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