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Oakland mayor Schaaf made the correct decision in warning her community

Compiled by The Express staff

On Feb. 24, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf issued a warning to residents that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were preparing to conduct raids in the city.

Her decision to make a preemptive announcement has been controversial, to say the least. The United States Department of Justice is even investigating whether she may have obstructed justice.

“I find it difficult to believe even in today’s America that informing people of their legal rights could be considered illegal,” she said.

The Trump administration, which has a hard line on immigration, is frustrated. On the morning of March 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the federal government would sue the state of California over its violation of immigration laws.

During the announcement, Sessions addressed Schaaf directly, saying, “How dare you. How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical open borders agenda.”

However, we on the Express editorial board largely feel that her move was a prudent one. It took guts for her to stand up for Oakland citizens who would have been impacted, especially given the likelihood that many of the immigrants in question were just trying to get a fresh start in America.

It would have created a double standard, had she not given the heads-up: She’d be continuing to protect one part of the community while ignoring another, and inevitably, a subset of the group she would be ignoring would be children.

As mayor, she has a duty to protect the entire community she leads, not just a section. Not alerting residents of upcoming raids brings to mind the Fourth Amendment – and images of the Gestapo.

Contrary to the apparent point of view of the current presidential administration, America is a nation of immigrants. If we don’t let honest people get a foothold on the American dream, we might as well remove “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” from the base of the Statue of Liberty.

In a commentary on Fox News’ website, Alex Nowrasteh says that “most immigration offenses are civil violations and not criminal ones,” such as overstaying a visa. This was the case for 66 percent of immigrants who entered the country in 2014.

With all that said, we feel it would be naive to not address the possibility of “bad apples.” We concede some who are not in this country legally do commit crimes, even heinous ones. However, as is always the case, when proper due process takes place, sometimes the accused is acquitted. (See the case of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who was found not guilty of the murder of Kate Steinle.)

On the other hand, the statistics show the seemingly increasing numbers of mass shootings are more likely to be committed by white, male American citizens.

According to a Oct. 2, 2017 report, citing data from Mother Jones, statistics show that fifty-four percent of mass shootings since 1982 were committed by white men.

No one can completely rule out the possibility that their friendly, all-American next-door neighbor Bob Smith could be the next lead story of the national news. Instead, one can predict that this scenario is the statistically more likely one, especially in a city of Oakland’s size.

Anyone, whether a natural born citizen, legal or illegal immigrant could “snap” at any time. A needle is notoriously hard to find in a haystack. The desire to find a scapegoat is human nature.

Combining both can be a problem.

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