Firebrand conservative Iowa Rep. Steve King introduced legislation in Congress Monday that would criminalize elected officials in sanctuary cities who impede the actions of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. King named it the “Libby Schaaf Act of 2018,” to highlight the Oakland mayor’s call last February to alert local residents of impending raids by ICE agents.
A press release from King’s office was titled, “King to Sanctuary Politicians: “’Obstruct ICE? End up in the cooler.’” The bill comes days after President Donald Trump suggested to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session that he seek charges of obstruction of justice against Schaaf at a White House round table with opponents of sanctuary cities in California.
“Sanctuary politicians are placing the lives of citizens and law enforcement officers in jeopardy by giving illegal aliens warnings about impending ICE actions in local jurisdictions,” said King. “This is obstruction of justice, and Americans do not have to put up with it. Under my bill, government officials who tip off illegal aliens about imminent federal immigration enforcement efforts could face up to 5 years in prison. I want lawless, Sanctuary City politicians to hear this message clearly: if you obstruct ICE, you are going to end up in the cooler.”
Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee tweeted Monday evening, “These personal attacks on Mayor @LibbySchaaf are just disgraceful. Oakland won’t be bullied into compromising our values.”
An aide in Schaaf’s office added in a tweet earlier, “No one should pull punches on this. White Supremacist congressman @SteveKingIA, who wants to put @LibbySchaaf in jail, until recently had a confederate flag proudly displayed on his desk,” said aide Michael Hunt.
While Schaaf’s decision to warn undocumented immigrants that ICE raids might be coming was widely applauded in progressive Oakland for its symbol of defiance toward the president’s rhetoric against immigrants and minorities, in recent weeks calls for punishing Schaaf from conservatives groups, in addition to Trump, have grown in recent weeks. A few months ago, two East Bay candidates for Congress called for the attorney general to similarly investigate Schaaf’s actions.