Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
November 14th, 2017
Immigration hardliner, Tom Homan, who has been serving as interim Acting Director of ICE, is set to become the official head of the department after President Trump’s nomination.
Homan has run the agency since Obama appointee Sarah Saldaña — the former U.S. attorney in Dallas — stepped down when Trump took office in January.
Homan is a tough talking law enforcement careerist who is unapologetic about being “heartless” when it comes to deporting even the most sympathetic longtime U.S. residents.
“I get asked all the time, ‘Why do you arrest somebody that has been here for 10 years, for 15 years in the USA and has kids?,'” he said a month ago at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
“If we keep sending this message, ‘It’s OK to violate the laws of this country and … not be worried about enforcement,’ then we’re never going to solve the border crisis…. It’s never going to be solved as long as people think they get a free pass.”
The White House announced the nomination with no fanfare, in a formal notice that Trump was sending Homan’s name to the Senate. The president was flying from Manila to Hawaii on his way back to Washington after a 13-day Asia trip.
Homan’s nomination to the post is subject to Senate approval, but the Trump administration was pressed to act, only having two more days to nominate a permanent Director for ICE. Had they failed to do so, Homan would have been blocked from exercising authority any longer.
Homan’s performance as an advocate for Trump’s policies made him briefly the subject of speculation for secretary of homeland security reports the Dallas News. But that vacancy, created when former Marine Gen. John Kelly took over as White House chief of staff, ended up going to a Kelly deputy.
Trump’s “build that wall!” campaign rhetoric and warnings of “bad hombres” flowing across the southern border stood in sharp contrast to his predecessor’s approach. In Homan, who has spent his career in law enforcement, including stints in Dallas and San Antonio as an immigration enforcer, he found an ally.
He has said repeatedly that when it comes to enforcement, “No one is off the table” — a far harsher approach than ICE took during the Obama era, when Saldaña, under the president’s direction, put a priority on finding and deporting immigrants who had committed crimes other than entering the country illegally.
In July, he floated the possibility of charging mayors and other local leaders with violating anti-smuggling laws if they don’t abandon “sanctuary city” practices that shield immigrants from federal enforcement efforts.
ICE oversees interior and workplace enforcement. At Heritage last month, Homan vowed to step up workplace enforcement by a magnitude of four or five, sending shudders through certain sectors.
Homan quickly emerged as an unusually visible presence for a subcabinet official.
The White House repeatedly trotted him out to promote Trump’s pressure on so-called sanctuary cities and executive orders tightening enforcement in numerous ways.
“When some law enforcement agencies fail to honor detainers or release serious criminal offenders, they — it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission. Most work with us, but many don’t in the largest cities, and that is where criminal aliens and criminal gangs flourish,” Homan said as the guest star at one June press briefing at the White House. “It is safer for everyone if we take custody of an alien in a controlled environment of another law enforcement agency as opposed to visiting an alien’s residence, place of work, or other public area. Arresting a criminal in the safety, security, and privacy of the jail is the right thing to do.”
Homan’s 33-year career in law enforcement includes stints as a New York City police officer and a Border Patrol Agent. He has worked as a special agent for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, a now defunct agency whose functions were transferred to ICE and other elements of the new Department of Homeland Security in 2003, when he became assistant agent in charge of ICE’s Dallas office. He has been at headquarters in Washington since 2009.
At Heritage, Homan acknowledged that he’s often accused of being “heartless,” but defended recent operations aimed at parents.
“Do I feel bad about the plight of some of these people? … Absolutely,” he said, “but I got a job to do and, if we don’t do that job, it is only going to get worse.”
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