About a year ago, Oakland declared itself a sanctuary city – a term that doesn’t have a specific definition but generally outlines a city’s refusal to work alongside immigration officials. This weekend, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf reinforced her commitment to protecting undocumented families. On Saturday night, Schaaf announced the possibility of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducting raids throughout Oakland. After receiving confidential information from “credible sources” and consulting with Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and legal counsel to check that she wasn’t at risk of prosecution, she issued a press release to warn her constituents, according to SF Gate.
— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) February 25, 2018
“I know that Oakland is a city of law-abiding immigrants and families who deserve to live free from the constant threat of arrest and deportation,” the statement read. “I believe it is my duty and moral obligation as Mayor to give those families fair warning when that threat appears imminent.”
On Sunday, she held a press conference at Fruitvale – a heavily Latino neighborhood – where she explained that she spoke to other Bay Area mayors and that she felt she could legally share the information because she “did not receive it through official channels.” Though she didn’t give a clear answer about why she chose to make this public, she did say that the raids were targeting undocumented immigrants who had violated immigration laws, not those that had committed crimes.
Though many used Schaaf’s refusal to cooperate with immigration officials as an opportunity to spread vitriolic and unfounded messages about undocumented immigrants, many others came out to show support for the Oakland mayor. Some even called her a hero. Check out a few reactions from those who stand by Schaaf’s decision.