The San Francisco spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has resigned over what he described as "false" and "misleading" statements made by top-ranking officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and ICE Acting Director Thomas D. Homan.
The now-former spokesman, James Schwab, told news outlets late Monday that his resignation stemmed from statements by Homan and Sessions that potentially hundreds of "criminal aliens" evaded ICE during a Northern California raid in February because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned the immigrant community in advance.
Schwab said he pushed back on that characterization - but said ICE instructed him to "deflect" questions from the press.
"I quit because I didn't want to perpetuate misleading facts," he told the San Francisco Chronicle, which broke the story. "I asked them to change the information. I told them that the information was wrong, they asked me to deflect, and I didn't agree with that. Then I took some time and I quit."
ICE officials and Sessions - and at one point President Donald Trump - criticized Schaaf for tipping off immigrants about the raid, which netted 232 suspected undocumented immigrants.
Homan said in a statement that "864 criminal aliens and public safety threats remain at large" and he believed some of them eluded authorities "thanks to the mayor's irresponsible decision."
And just last week, in Sacramento, Sessions said, "Those are 800 wanted criminals that are now at large in that community - 800 wanted criminals that ICE will now have to pursue with more difficulty in more dangerous situations, all because of one mayor's irresponsible action."
Schwab, however, said that both the number of potential arrests and the blame heaped on Schaaf by officials was wrong.
As he told the Chronicle, "I didn't feel like fabricating the truth to defend ourselves against her actions was the way to go about it. We were never going to pick up that many people. To say that 100 percent are dangerous criminals on the street, or that those people weren't picked up because of the misguided actions of the mayor, is just wrong."