WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan said at a White House press briefing Wednesday that no illegal immigrant should “be comfortable” in the U.S.
Homan was at the briefing with U.S. Attorney John Huber to support two anti-illegal immigration bills that Congress is set to vote on. One of the bills will not allow jurisdictions that refuse to comply with immigration detainers to receive grants from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. The other bill would increase the punishments for a deported illegal immigrant who returns to the U.S.
The ICE director said that these bills signify additional tools in his toolbox to combat illegal immigration. The Daily Caller previously reported that while immigration reduction groups are in support of the laws, they don’t think they go far enough. The Davis-Oliver Act would also target sanctuary cities and illegal immigrants who have returned back to the U.S. in addition to several other measures.
Homan, however, said these laws represent the “most significant pieces of immigration legislation I have seen in my entire career.”
The 33-year law enforcement veteran highlighted the effects of President Trump’s executive orders on illegal immigration and said that since these were signed in late January ICE has arrested 66,000 individuals known or suspected of being in the country illegally. This is a 39.3 percent increase over the same period in 2016.
Homan said that people who enter the U.S. illegally “should not be comfortable” and instead be “concerned that somebody is looking” for them. However, many illegal immigrants who arrived as minors before 2012 can still feel comfortable as the Trump administration continues to honor the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals amnesty program.
CNN’s senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta asked Homan about the consequences of deporting an illegal immigrant mother who brought her children across the border. He then accused Homan of looking at the issue in a “cold and clinical” manner.
The ICE director in his response maintained that the agency focuses on criminals or people who have been ordered to be deported and haven’t left, but that if ICE encounters any illegal immigrant they could be deported. Homan then returned to the podium after a few minutes and said he wanted to respond to the notion that he is “cold” or the “devil.”
He was on the verge of tears as he recounted horror stories during his law enforcement career such as encountering dead children and molested women. He said the organizations behind these awful crimes move “these people looking for a better life,” and that when “we endorse the non-enforcement of immigration laws we bankroll these organizations.”