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CNN Anchor Asks Mayor Schaaf About Asylum Seekers Taking Advantage of the System

AP Photo/Ben Margot

You'll remember Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf as the liberal leader who helped hundreds of illegal immigrants escape when she learned of an ICE raid that was heading toward her city. She gave those illegal residents a 24-hour notice that the immigration officials were on their way, much to the frustration of President Trump. He threatened to pursue criminal charges against her.

Still, Schaaf has maintained her sanctuary city mindset. In a CNN interview on Wednesday morning, Schaaf told Jim Sciutto that it's actually the president who is peddling un-American policies. Asylum seekers should be welcomed with open arms, she argued, because many are "hardworking people" who come to this country to contribute "and become a part of the rich American fabric." 

Sciutto then posed a fair question: What about migrants who are just claiming asylum to find a job? According to U.S. law, an asylum seeker must prove that he or she is seeking refuge on the basis of their safety. In many cases, individuals must demonstrate they are being persecuted because of their race, religion or political beliefs.

Instead of condemning those who take advantage of the process, Schaaf reasoned that that's how it used to be.

"The way most our great grandparents came here would be considered illegal today," she explained. "We used to allow for economic reasons." 

Back then, she added, as long as immigrants "demonstrated they had a lot to contribute," they could be granted entry. 

From what it sounds like, Schaaf still has no plans to comply with ICE, especially because she sees the "terror" the agency is striking in families. 

She's seen high schools students "shaking with fear," worried they’ll come home to no parents. In some cases, she said, those fears have been realized. The mayor recalled how the community "lost a beloved highly skilled nurse" who specialized in cancer treatments. She and her husband were deported and separated from their four children. This nurse had "never had committed a crime, ever," Schaaf alleged.

Many would beg to differ.

"This is the kind of family Trump is going after," she argued.

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