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Following this week’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson James Schwab’s resignation as a result of the Trump administration’s purposeful lies, the Washington Post editorial board eviscerates ICE and the department’s Acting Director Thomas Homan for “wander[ing] into the territory of outlandish falsehoods.”
As the editorial concludes, “immigration officials such as Mr. Homan appear to believe they are involved in a sort of war. And in war, the first casualty is invariably the truth.”
“At ICE, The Truth Is Malleable” is available online here and excerpted below.
THE TOP official at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whose stock in trade is tough-guy double-speak on deportation, occasionally wanders into the territory of outlandish falsehoods, often in the service of the idea that Americans should be very afraid. That was the case last month when Thomas D. Homan, ICE’s deputy director (and, in the absence of a director, the agency’s de facto No. 1) suggested that more than 800 “criminal aliens” were at large in Northern California because the mayor of Oakland had tipped them off.
That was a risible exaggeration apparently triggered by Mr. Homan’s wrath that the mayor, Libby Schaaf, a Democrat, had announced that ICE planned raids to arrest undocumented immigrants across the Bay Area in late February. It was also the sort of blithe fiction the Trump administration usually peddles without public pushback from career civil servants. Not this time.
This week, ICE’s own spokesman in San Francisco resigned in protest of Mr. Homan’s false assertion, which was seconded by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “I quit because I didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts,” James Schwab, the ICE official, told the San Francisco Chronicle. He said that when he told his superiors that “the information was wrong, they asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that.”
Ms. Schaaf issued her warning that ICE raids were imminent on Feb. 24
…In any event, however, the ICE raids were more or less successful, producing 232 arrests of undocumented immigrants, half of them with criminal records. That’s roughly in line with expectations; deportation sweeps generally net just a fraction of the targeted suspects.
Despite that, Mr. Homan blamed the mayor’s warning for allowing some — or even all, as he said a day later — of 800-odd immigrants to escape capture. Mr. Sessions then fanned the fires, asserting, “Those are 800 wanted criminals that are now at large in that community . . . all because of one irresponsible action.” That was plain nonsense, as Mr. Schwab pointed out.
America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry notes, “The Trump Administration is more interested in playing politics and deporting deeply-rooted immigrants than in protecting public safety in California’s diverse communities. We all know the Trump administration has little regard for truth telling. Trump lies on a daily basis, and now Sessions and Homan are following suit, bending the truth to fit their anti-immigrant narrative. They are not interested in letting the facts get in the way of the anti-immigrant story they are trying to tell. Fortunately for the country, another patriotic public servant refuses to go along and resigns on principle. James Schwab, we salute you. As for the President, the Attorney General and the Acting ICE Director, your lies will haunt you. We intend to make sure of it.”