An immigration watchdog is supporting a new bill in Congress hoping it will warn public officials who obstruct U.S. immigration laws.
U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has introduced the Mayor Libby Schaaf Act of 2018, naming the legislation after the Oakland mayor who learned of a pending sweep by immigration agents and tipped off illegal aliens, including criminal gang members, Fox News reported in March.
Defending his bill on the Fox Business Network, King said Mayor Schaaf is no different than a private citizen harboring an illegal alien in their home.
"And if you use your position as a public official, in a blanket form, to help hundreds avoid the law," said King, "that's clearly obstruction of justice."
ICE has since suggested Schaaf was essentially acting as a "gang lookout" by tipping off lawbreakers when police came through their neighborhood.
King's new bill would include a penalty of up to five years in prison for any state or local official who obstructed enforcement of federal laws.
Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform or FAIR, says Mayor Schaaff knew Immigrations and Customs Enforcement were carrying out a legal act of law enforcement but tipped off the targets of that effort.
"And whether you are the mayor of Oakland, or just an ordinary citizen," he tells OneNewsNow, "you have to be accountable for those actions. That's an obstruction of justice and it cannot be tolerated."