The official line from the White House regarding President Donald Trump’s Tuesday trip to California was that the president was there to attend a fundraiser, address troops and inspect border wall prototypes. As to the latter, the information from the White House was specific:
The President was briefed on the ongoing assessment of eight border wall prototypes, with a focus on how the features and attributes of each impedes illegal crossings. Each assessment includes input from Border Patrol agents and an engineering analysis. Customs and a Border Patrol (CBP’s) Land Systems Operational Test Authority, the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), special operations units from the Department of Defense, industry partners, and other federal agencies participated in the assessment of each prototype.
But there was an additional, rather dramatic, situation that awaited the President before he even landed. James Schwab, an ICE agent in San Francisco, quit his post last week as an ICE spokesman for what he says was a principled stand against “[perpetuating] misleading facts.”
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman in San Francisco has quit his post, saying he refuses to promote fake news from the Trump administration about a recent immigration sweep in Northern California.
James Schwab told the San Francisco Chronicle he resigned in frustration last week after Attorney General Jeff Sessions and ICE director Thomas Homa repeatedly claimed that more than 800 undocumented immigrants escaped arrest because Oakland Mayor Elizabeth Schaff warned of a possible crackdown hours before it began.
“I quit because I didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts,” Schwab, who was hired during the Obama administration, told the Chronicle. “I told them that the information was wrong. They asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that.”
Specifically, the Schwab resignation is related to the lawsuit filed by the Trump Department of Justice last week against the state of California regarding immigration laws that the state enforces that run counter to federal immigration laws. The state laws are generally regarded as the statutory framework that allows for sanctuary cities.
Sessions was incensed by a series of tweets that Mayor Schaaf had sent warning illegals that an ICE sweep was coming; one he said led to the escape of more than 800 immigration lawbreakers. (For the record, Schwab doesn’t disagree that the tip-off led to hundreds of fewer arrests; rather he contends that some of those hundreds who were spared arrest thanks to Schaaf’s tweets weren’t dangerous criminals.)
“Here’s my message to Mayor Schaaf: ‘How dare you!'” the attorney general said. “How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of law enforcement officers to promote your radical open borders agenda.”
In preparation for landing in California, the White House — in addition to releasing information on border wall prototypes and specifics about the forthcoming speech to Marines in San Diego — also sent along a helpful primer on sanctuary cities.
When sanctuary city officials refuse to honor ICE detainer requests, they are putting the public and law enforcement officers at risk. If ICE cannot arrest illegal or criminal aliens in the controlled environments of police stations or jails, it must perform its lawful immigration enforcement duties in workplaces, in residences, or in the streets. Even worse, when sanctuary city officials warn illegal aliens about possible upcoming immigration enforcement activities, they allow criminals to prepare themselves, endangering innocent bystanders and putting law enforcement at greater risk.
For all the talk that this White House and administration are in disarray and borderline chaotic, they are certainly learning how to get in front of negative press that might throw a wrench in their long term legislative agenda.