"The more people I have in the jail the less people I have to send out on the street to look for them", the official said, speaking on condition he not be named as part of a background briefing set up by the White House ahead of President Trump's trip to California Tuesday.
"I've never been in this situation in 16 nearly 17 years in government where someone asked me to deflect when we absolutely knew something was awry - when the data was not correct" he said. "Then I took some time and I quit".
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, James Schwab said he resigned as a result of statements coming from the Trump administration and ICE regarding the California Bay Area raid that Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf had warned the immigrant community about.
"Maria Mendoza-Sanchez and her husband are an example of a couple that, under the previous administration, were considered low-priority for deportation", Schaaf said.
According to ICE, of the 232 people picked up in the raid, 115, or roughly half, had felonies or misdemeanors on their records.
"Sanctuary jurisdictions like San Francisco and Oakland shield unsafe criminal aliens from federal law enforcement at the expense of public safety", Homan said of Schaaf's warning.
Sessions also repeated the 800 number and blamed the mayor for her heads up: "Those are 800 wanted aliens that are now at large in that community".
These figures propagated across news outlets. Vice President Pence called the advance warning of ICE actions "disgraceful" and said it "put law enforcement officers at risk".
As he told the Chronicle, "I didn't feel like fabricating the truth to defend ourselves against her actions was the way to go about it".
"We were never going to pick up that many people". Although he agrees that Schaaf's actions were "misguided" and "not responsible", he takes issue with placing her with the blame of 800 risky people remaining at large.
"It's the job of a public affairs officer to offer transparency for the agency you work for." he argued.
Of the battle over how to properly characterize the events, Schwab said, "I've never been in this situation in 16, nearly 17 years in government where someone asked me to deflect when we absolutely knew something was awry - when the data was not correct".
"I just couldn't bear the burden - continuing on as a representative of the agency and charged with upholding integrity, knowing that information was false", Schwab told CNN.
Schwab also made sure to point out that there are many individual ICE agents who are good, honest, hardworking people.
He announced the decision "abruptly", another ICE official told KTVU. "Even though those previous statements did not clarify the wrong information".
"While we can't put a number on how many targets avoided arrest due to the mayor's warning, it clearly had an impact", Johnson said.
Schwab said he took issue with their characterization.
CNN has reached out to ICE in Washington and the Department of Justice for comment.
In California alone, ICE said it arrested 20,201 people suspected of residing in the US illegally a year ago, saying that 81 percent of them reportedly had criminal convictions. "Those are 800 wanted aliens that are now at large in that community". Of more than 800 immigrants targeted by federal law enforcement, the agency was able to make 232 arrests. "We believe in the rule of law and one criminal alien victimizing residents of Oakland is one too many".
The Oakland mayor has applauded the former spokesperson's decision. "Our democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard", the mayor said.