A federal official said Wednesday that about 800 "criminals" avoided immigration arrests because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf alerted the public to the surprise operation, an extraordinarily high number of missed targets, the AP reports. Thomas Homan, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's acting director, told Fox News that the mayor's warning on Twitter was "beyond the pale" and compared her to a gang lookout who tells people when a police car is arriving. Homan said the Justice Department is looking into whether Schaaf obstructed justice. The mayor's unusual public warning last weekend came hours before the agency launched an operation in Northern California that resulted in more than 150 arrests as of Tuesday, according to the agency.
Homan's statement of 800 missed targets—plus the 150 arrests—in only three days suggests an unusually large operation by ICE's standards. Two weeks ago, it arrested 212 in a five-day operation in the LA area. A Texas operation in February resulted in 145 arrests over seven days. Schaaf on Saturday issued a statement on Twitter that she learned from "multiple credible sources" that an immigration operation was imminent in the San Francisco area, including Oakland, possibly within 24 hours. The mayor, who's running for another term this year, defended her actions again on Wednesday, saying she wasn't tipped off by "official sources" and that she didn't reveal specific locations. She added that the "Trump administration is trying to distract the American people, convince them that these immigrants are dangerous people. That could not be further from the truth and it is based in racism."