OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - A bill bearing Oakland Mayor Schaaf's name was introduced to Congress on Monday by a Republican from Iowa over her warning the sanctuary city and community of an impending large-scale ICE operation earlier this year.
The bill, authored by Rep. Steve King, would would ban officials from “the purposeful broadcast ... of information relating to any imminent action by a federal law enforcement officer or agent.” Violations could result in up to five years in prison.
King, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, announced the legislation, HR 5884, on Monday. "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," he said in a statement. "I want lawless, Sanctuary City politicians to hear this message clearly: if you obstruct ICE, you are going to end up in the cooler."
Schaaf's response to KTVU on Monday evening was bold and unapologetic. "I am not going to be bullied by the Trump administration," Schaaf said. "I can tell you that I know a lot more about keeping my community safe than some congress member from Iowa."
This comes after a meeting President Trump had last week with California leaders from some of the sanctuary state's conservative-leaning areas. Trump called for the criminal investigation of Mayor Schaaf, likening her infamous tip to an "obstruction of justice."
UC Hastings Law Professor David Levine said there is already federal code covering obstruction of justice, but it requires corrupt intent or specific action.
"There was nothing specific," Levine said. "No specific time, place, manner target, in any way so I don't think she was close to coming to obstruction of justice under existing law. This is written so broadly, any piece of federal law would be protected from a challenge from a state or local official."
Schaaf had previously defended her stance, saying she was willing to be jailed for sharing that information with what she considered to be Oakland's "most vulnerable residents."
She has fervently defended her stance since, including last week in what seemed like a direct response to President Trump on his favorite social media platform, Twitter.
Schaaf used hashtags like "#NotDistracted," #DoingMyJob," and "NotObstructing."
Spent the day presenting our vision to make college a reality for every child from #Oakland. Now onto DC to fight for federal $$$ for affordable housing and homeless services w bipartisan @mayorsandceos. #NotDistracted #NotObstructing #DoingMyJobhttps://t.co/A8DtM5rzWQ— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) May 16, 2018
Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said as many as 800 undocumented immigrants were able to evade the operation because of Schaaf's tip.
USF Political Science Professor James Taylor noted what he called a "phenomenon" where blue states are now tapping into the old Republican and conservative idea of state's rights.
California has more than 500 sanctuary cities, including Oakland and San Francisco.
You can read Rep. King's full statement here.
Schaaf characterized the Trump administration's calls for her to be investigated as "continued pandering to their base."
She added that the country's immigration system is "failed," that the bullying only serves as a distraction, as she remained unapologetic. She said she would continue to back her constituents and their values.
"Immigrants are what make our community better," she said. "Particularly in California where our economy relies on what is now a substantial amount of undocumented immigrants."
Schaaf said she is interested in updating immigration policy.
President @realdonaldtrump how many rabid, violent MS-13 animals do mayors like @LibbySchaaf allow to prey on our citizens when they obstruct ICE raids? Too many! I’ve just introduced a bill to stop them and protect law abiding Americans. https://t.co/DlocIwZhmq— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) May 21, 2018