Iowa 4th District Congressman Steve King elected to make Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf the poster child for the resistance to President Donald Trump’s immigration policy when King announced what he calls “Mayor Libby Schaaf Act”, thus marking the first time in history a sitting Oakland, California Mayor has had a proposed federal law named specifically for them.
In this case, Congressman King’s proposed legislation was created because, according to King as he said on May 23rd, on Fox Business Network’s Varney & Co. and reported on his own website, “Under the ‘Mayor Libby Schaaf Act,’ government officials who tip off illegal aliens about imminent federal immigration enforcement efforts could face up to 5 years in prison. The bill was drafted in response to the actions of Mayor Libby Schaaf from Oakland, California. Mayor Schaaf is infamous for tipping off her community to an impending immigration raid by federal ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents. Her actions may have allowed up to 800 illegal aliens to escape.”
This echo’s what President Trump himself said on May 16th, 2018, and during a “California Sanctuary State Roundtable” at The White House: “You know, you had the Mayor of Oakland that I read where you had 1,000 people — Tom, you know this because it was your deal — it had 1,000 people together. Many of these were illegals. They were criminals. They were all sorts of — it was work. And she informed them and they all fled, or most of them fled. And that whole operation that took a long time to put together — I mean, you talk about obstruction of justice; I would recommend that you look into obstruction of justice for the Mayor of Oakland, California, Jeff. She advises a thousand people. They told, “Get out of here, the law enforcement is coming.” And you worked on that long and hard. And you got there, and there were very few people there. To me, that’s obstruction of justice. And perhaps the Department of Justice can look into that with respect to the mayor, because it’s a big deal out there and a lot of people are very angry about what happened. There’s a lot of hard work and a lot of danger involved. And that was a terrible thing.” (From full transcript provided by The White House Press Office.)
For her part, the Mayor of Oakland was not backing down from her stance, posting an op-ed that was reported by many media outlets, like CNN: “”Mr. President, I am not obstructing justice. I am seeking it. The president takes issue with a tweet I posted in February in which I notified residents of an impending raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Bay Area, including Oakland. I wanted to make sure that people were prepared, not panicked, and that they understood their legal rights.”
Mayor Schaaf is far from the first American public official to express convern with the impact the operations of Imigration and Customs Enforcement have on local public safety. The ICE raids, done with the controversial objective of deporting Central American children and families, are not new, and started with the Bush Administration and carried over into the Obama Administration. But the difference with the Obama Administration approach was to focus on going after only those persons who were already marked for deportation, and ordered to leave the United States, according to The Washington Post.
In working to carry out that plan, the Obama Administration hit a large snag that President Trump seems to ignore the existence of, with respect to his call for Mayor Schaaf to be investigated. In 2014, state courts, as part of a wave of public opposition to police-ICE collaborations, declared ICE holds unconstitutional. Nine sheriffs and 22 counties expressed their own policy of not cooperating with Imigration and Customs Enforcement, according to Andrew Willis Garces on the “Waging Nonviolence” news website, June 25th 2014.
In other words, there are many examples of public officials defying the President of the United States in the matter of ICE raid orders. The next job for the media is to ask President Trump and Congressman King if they are aware of the giant legal precedent that’s against their claim that states and cities, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, have to comply with raids conducted by Imigration and Customs Enforcement.
If Representative King agrees that the actions of past public officials were justified, then he would have declared his own proposed law, the Mayor Libby Schaaf Act, unconstitutional. Moreover, he would have to explain why he focused on and went after Mayor Schaaf, when he backed the actions of past public officials, who openly defied ICE.