US Department of Homeland Security responds after San Francisco ICE spokesman resigns

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is responding after the chief spokesman for ICE in San Francisco quit his job.

James Schwab told The Chronicle on Monday that officials, including U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, repeatedly said roughly 800 immigrants escaped arrest because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff's Feb. 24 warning about the four-day operation.

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Schwab understood the number to be lower and he didn't want to deflect media questions about it.

Schwab says statements were misleading because the agency would never be able to capture everyone on the Northern California target list.

ICE issued a response, Tuesday.

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"Even one criminal alien on the street can put public safety at risk and as Director Homan stated, while we can't put a number on how many targets avoided arrest due to the mayor's warning, it clearly had an impact. While we disagree with Mr. Schwab on this issue, we appreciate his service and wish him well," said ICE spokesperson Liz Johnson.

The mayor praised Schwab.

"I commend Mr. Schwab for speaking the truth while under intense pressure to lie," said Mayor Schaaf in a statement to ABC7 News.

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"Our democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard."

Sessions said he had learned that "ICE failed to make 800 arrests that they would have made if the mayor had not acted as she did."

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