Former acting ICE Director Tom Homan left New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speechless during Congressional hearings Friday on the topic of family separations at the border.
The exchange began when Ocasio-Cortez tried to nail Homan down as being the “author” of the “family separation policy” memo, which he had signed.
Homan noted that, while he did not write the policy, he had made “numerous recommendations” to Homeland Security, including implementing a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossers.
“Which includes family separation,” Ocasio-Cortez interrupted.
“The same as it is with every U.S. citizen,” Homan shot back. “Parent [who] gets arrested with a child.”
After a brief pause, a seemingly rattled Ocasio-Cortez said, “Zero tolerance was interpreted as the policy that separated the children from their parents.” (RELATED: Tucker Asked Jorge Ramos How Many Caravan Migrants He Planned To Take In — Things Got Awkward Fast)
“If I get arrested for DUI and I have a young child in the car I’m gonna be separated,” Homan said. “When I was a police officer in New York and I arrested a father for domestic violence, I separated that father from his family.”
“Mr. Homan, with all due respect, legal asylees are not charged with any crime,” said the congresswoman.
But Homan was ready, with a specific U.S. code no less: “When you’re in this country illegally, it’s violation 8, United States Code 1325.”
“Seeking asylum is legal,” she insisted.
“If you want to seek asylum, you go through a port of entry,” he responded. “Do it the legal way. The Attorney General of the United States has made that clear.”
“Okay,” said Ocasio-Cortez.
The New York Democrat responded to the exchange on Twitter after the hearing, arguing that limited ports of entry and restrictions on how many can enter through even the open ports created a desperate situation for many seking asylum.
When Homan says “they can come in a port of entry,” what he doesn’t say is that the admin has practically closed ports to asylees.
Out of desperation, families do what Óscar & Valeria(the father & daughter who drowned) did: face dangerous terrain.
These are policies of cruelty. https://t.co/ifQOxe1t5Z
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 12, 2019
Democrats have made much political hay out of the fact that the Trump administration once separated children of illegal immigrants from their parents at the border, even though the practice was prevalent under former President Obama’s administration as well. President Trump signed an executive order ending the policy in June 2018.