President Trump’s pick to be the nation’s first-ever “border czar” is a longtime former cop and immigration official who takes a hard line on illegal crossings.
Former acting ICE Director Thomas Homan told Secrets early in the Trump administration, for example, that he views every unauthorized border crossing as a crime that can and should be punished.
“If you are in this country illegally, and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried,” Homan told Secrets.
At the time, Trump had asked him to stay on and he agreed. Homan later left the administration, despite rumors he was under consideration to be homeland security secretary. He has remained a strong advocate for Trump and tough immigration policies.
Insiders said that Trump likes Homan because he is unafraid to take on pro-immigration critics of the president and believes that any crime, including illegal border crossings, are a deportable offense.
“No population is off the table,” he told a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing in 2017. “We’ll issue detainers to anybody in the country illegally,” he said. “Our priorities are criminals first, but if you’re asking me if we are going to put detainers on people that have not been convicted of a crime, yes we will,” he added referring to the first step in deportation.
Groups that back Trump’s efforts to stop illegal immigration praised the Homan pick.
“The border has become increasingly porous, and action is desperately needed. Tom Homan is uniquely qualified to address these problems. I am confident he will provide the president with a comprehensive assessment of the situation as well as effective remedies,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of the Immigration Reform and Law Institute.
“All we have heard from a succession of immigration officials – even going back to the Obama administration – is that the border crisis cannot be solved until Congress acts. Tom Homan is a man of action, so I expect that mind-set and that narrative to change,” added Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.
She also said that Homan should work well with incoming U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services head Ken Cuccinelli.
“I think that Ken Cuccinelli and Tom Homan will work well together, because Cuccinelli also wants to hit the ground running and has ideas for how to tackle the border crisis. They are both rule-of-law kind of guys. One thing that Cuccinelli brings to the operation is his understanding of how states can be full and constructive partners in immigration enforcement,” she told Secret.
Trump announced his pick a week early, telling “Fox & Friends” Friday, “He’s fantastic, tough as you get and smart and he’s doing much of the legal work and we are putting in some great, strong but fair and good people.”
Homan worked in immigration law enforcement for years and has deep roots. He is considered a “cop’s cop” who speaks bluntly.
Like the president, he has been very tough on the sanctuary city movement and pro-immigrant judges.
“Sanctuary cities are a danger to the men and women of ICE,” he said.
“We are all blessed to live in the greatest country on earth, and I can’t blame anybody who wants to live here,” he said, adding, “But we are also a country built on the foundation of the rule of law. Those who choose to enter this country illegally which is a crime, a federal crime, or to overstay their visa have knowingly chosen to break the law. Meanwhile, millions of people who have become permanent members of our society through our generous legal channels, they have shown their respect for the rule of law and for the American people.”
And Homan, who initially met with resistance in the new administration because he had worked under former President Barack Obama, has praised Trump for letting the various immigration law enforcement branches do their job.
Homan told Secrets that Border Patrol and ICE agents are cheering life under Trump. “Now they have meaning to their jobs,” said Homan. “What this president has done is taken the handcuffs off of law enforcement officers who are charged with enforcing immigration laws,” he added.
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