Politics

Warning of ICE Raids Is Like Telling Wall Street the SEC Is Coming, Fleischer Says

George W. Bush's former press secretary blasted Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf for helping criminal aliens avoid federal immigration officials

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer Wednesday compared a California mayor’s warning illegal immigrants of an impending federal enforcement raid to a New York leader’s warning “that the Security and Exchange Commission [SEC] was coming into Wall Street.” He spoke during “The Ingraham Angle” on Fox News.

The Democrat mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, incurred immigration enforcement advocates’ ire by telling illegal aliens in her city of a forthcoming roundup by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. Acting ICE chief Thomas Homan blamed Schaaf’s intervention for ICE’s failure to arrest hundreds of illegal immigrants accused of serious crimes.

“They escaped because the mayor helped them to escape,” said Fleischer (pictured above left). “Look, if a mayor of New York City warned that the Security and Exchange Commission was coming into Wall Street, and she said, ‘Hide all your papers, everybody on Wall Street,’ people would object.”

He added, “If a mayor who had a lot of union workers and factories in town said, ‘OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] is coming, the Department of Labor is coming, quick, hide everything you’re doing,’ people would object. But the bigger difference here [is] that these people have criminal violations against them.”

California, which officially began 2018 as a “sanctuary state” after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill into law, prohibits local law enforcement officials from inquiring about an individual’s immigration status and aiding federal immigration enforcement officials in most cases.

But even prior to the law’s passage, the Golden State thwarted President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement agenda, as officials harbored illegal immigrants and shielded them from deportation.

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Fleischer noted he is a first-generation American because his mother immigrated to the U.S., saying, “I happen to think immigrants enrich us. They make us a stronger, better country.”

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“But you know why they come here? They come here because we have the rule of law, because we’re a nation of laws,” Fleischer said. “And when people like the mayor of Oakland go ahead and decide that they can violate the law, they can have sanctuaries.”

But lawyer and immigration rights activist Francisco Hernandez (shown above right) defended the Oakland mayor’s actions, telling host Laura Ingraham that California “can’t” obstruct federal immigration law because “they don’t harbor” illegal immigrants.

Hernandez blamed ICE for decisions by local authorities to release illegal immigrants back into the state after 48 hours if ICE officials never showed up, saying, “Why don’t they pick them up when they’re first arrested at the jail?”

Hernandez also blasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions for announcing Wednesday that the Department of Justice was filing a lawsuit against the “sanctuary state.”

“Why’d he have to file a lawsuit to say that [what] some mayor says is invalid? It is invalid prima facie, on its face,” Hernandez said. “A mayor can’t oppose the federal government. I mean, come on, really — there is no such thing as sanctuary cities. They are a political phantom.”

Related: ‘California, We Have a Problem,’ Jeff Sessions Declares

“But the problem with the attorney general filing a lawsuit is maybe he will accidentally recognize that maybe California has the right to obstruct the federal government,” Hernandez continued, reiterating that the idea of a sanctuary state is a “political phantom” — even though California calls itself a sanctuary state.

Fleischer retorted, “What’s a phantom are the 600 people here in this city that I’m in today, Oakland, who got away because they were warned by the mayor — those 600 illegal immigrants, all of whom have criminal charges standing against them.”

“The mayor’s obligation is to help the federal government enforce the law — not take the side of illegal immigrants who were violating the law.”

“If the mayor hears about it, the mayor’s obligation is to help the federal government enforce the law — not take the side of illegal immigrants who were violating the law,” Fleischer said. “The attorney general is a hundred percent right … I’m very glad the attorney general did what he did, and I say that as a child of an immigrant who loves this country.”

Ingraham blasted Schaaf for “thwarting federal immigration law,” saying, “The woman should be put in jail. She’s harboring illegal immigrants. It’s against U.S. law. It’s an outrage.”

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

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