Thomas D. Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said anyone in the country without authorization can be arrested and those who have been ordered deported by judges must be removed if laws are to have meaning. Democrats in Congress and alien advocacy groups expressed outrage at Mr. Homan’s statements.
“If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by being in this country, you should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder. You need to be worried,” said Homan.
Homan’s testimony to the House Appropriations Committee marked a major shift for an agency that President Obama forbade from enforcing the law when it concerned more then 9 million illegals. The Trump administration is asking for significant boosts in spending for both border and interior enforcement, but is meeting strong resistance from Democrats who oppose enforcing the law. “Democrats will not accept a penny of funding for a new deportation force or a border wall,” said Rep. Nita M. Lowery of New York, the ranking Democrat on the committee.
He said the number of nations refusing to take back their deportees has been cut in half, while the number of jurisdictions looking to have their police and deputy sheriffs trained to process illegals in their jails has nearly doubled and will likely triple by the end of the year. In addition, some 400,000 illegals ordered removed by judges but allowed to run free by the Obama administration are now on the list of enforcement priorities.
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland Democrat, told Mr. Homan that illegals convicted of drunk driving should not be deported because they were “not really considered to be the type of people that are hurting our country.” Mr. Homan replied that drunk driving sounds like a public safety risk. “They should be removed,” he said.
Frank Sherry, executive director of the pro-alien America’s Voice, called Homan’s testimony “extremist.”
Homan pushed back against the leftist criticism. He noted that his agents are enforcing the laws as written and that no other branch of law enforcement faces the abusive questions his employees do.
He said the illegals deserve the blame for “separating families.” When a U.S. citizen commits a crime and goes to jail, he said, the police who catch him are not blamed for keeping him from his family.