James Schwab told the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday that top officials repeatedly said roughly 800 immigrants escaped arrest because of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Feb. 24 warning about the four-day operation.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he had learned the agency failed to make 800 arrests because of the mayor’s warning.
The federal agency’s acting director, Thomas Homan, said Schaaf’s warning caused about 800 “criminals” to elude capture.
Schwab says the statements were misleading because the agency never captures everyone on its target lists.
ICE spokesperson Liz Johnson said in a statement that the mayor’s warning “clearly had an impact” but the agency can’t put a number on how many people avoided arrest.
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