The Obama-holdover chosen by DHS Secretary John Kelly to direct Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for the Trump Administration helped author Obama’s controversial immigration priorities and executive orders, and he also publicly praised them. Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan made the comments on video shortly before the 2016 presidential election at a time when most thought Hillary Clinton would win, but Donald Trump won and now Homan claims to be an immigration hawk.
Trump’s campaign largely centered around opposing former President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration and the release of criminal illegal aliens into U.S. communities. Acting ICE Director Homan was the Enforcement and Removal Director (ERO) for President Obama and even received an elite award from the former president for his efforts on immigration. Homan has come under fire from the ICE Council for being Obama’s official who oversaw Obama’s release of tens of thousands of criminal illegal aliens into the U.S.
A video shows Acting ICE Director Homan speaking on September 12, 2016 at the Migration Policy Institute’s annual conference. Homan began his talk by discussing Obama’s executive actions and immigration enforcement priorities, saying he was involved in helping to author them, defending them, and by praising Obama’s DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson (Start 16:04 in video).
…I can tell you, Secretary Johnson, I admire this man [Jeh Johnson] and I respect this man greatly. When we came to the table a few years ago to talk about executive actions, he actually brought law enforcement personnel to the table. He brought me there. He brought the head of the Border Patrol there. Because he wanted to hear from a law enforcement perspective what made sense to us. Based on our experience what worked and didn’t work. So I was actually involved with some of the authoring of these executive actions and the priorities.
Did all my input make it in there? Absolutely not. But I did have some input that made it in there and here’s why I think the executive actions and the priorities make some sense: If you believe the number, 12 million illegal aliens in this country, let’s just accept that. 12 million.
The most aliens ICE ever removed in one year is 409,000 in FY 2012. Do the math, that’s less than three percent. So hitting on all cylinders, if we can as an agency based on our budget and our resources remove three percent of the population, in my opinion as a law enforcement officer, that three percent needs to count. … It shouldn’t be the first 400,000 in the door, it shouldn’t be the first 400,000 we find. We need to pick and choose that 400,000 … and I think the priorities we are currently working under gets us there.
….every morning I come in I read all the press releases. Half of them think we don’t do enough and half of them think we do too much. Which means we are probably doing just about the right thing.
Later in the talk Homan stated:
The priority enforcement program makes sense from an officer safety perspective and I think it makes sense from a priorities perspective.
After Homan’s initial talk, Obama’s former ICE Director’s advisor revealed that Homan was the signator to several of the Obama Administration’s most controversial efforts to make it more difficult to detain, and ultimately to deport, transgender illegal aliens and other “individuals with special vulnerabilities.”
In the video, the Obama Administration’s senior immigration advisor for ICE praised Homan as an ally (32:12 in video). That advisor, a self-proclaimed immigrant advocate, is Elizabeth Cedillo-Pereira, who was Senior Advisor to the Director of ICE.
Homan went on to praise “alternatives” to detaining illegal aliens, aka releasing captured illegal aliens into U.S. communities. Homan described problems in locating illegal aliens after they have been released from detention but then stated, “not that we should get away from it,” referring to the practice of releasing the illegal aliens into U.S. communities (around 50:29 in video).
Homan continued with his defense of Obama’s policies:
….So, I think what the secretary [Jeh Johnson] has done is given us a set of rules to work by that makes sense through prioritizing the worst of the worst first (59:08 in video).
Breitbart contacted ICE Officer and ICE Council President Chris Crane for comment on all that Acting ICE Director Homan said in the video. Officer Crane stated, “This video shows the real Thomas Homan. He said whatever he had to say to please Obama and to please Hillary Clinton, whom he likely thought would win the election.”
Officer Crane continued, “I guess Secretary Kelly and Homan think if Homan just says a bunch of hardline immigration comments now, we will all forget what he did for Obama. They think we will all just let it go and not talk about the fact that Homan praised Obama’s immigration policies, helped to write them, and even received an award from Obama for having done so. Homan somehow convinces people who support Obama that he is really on their open borders side, while also convincing immigration hawks that he is really on their side. It’s actually quite spineless and the ICE officers risking their lives for our country deserve a better leader.”
Just as Officer Crane said, Acting Director Homan recently gave comments aligned with hardline immigration hawks now that the Trump Administration is in power. He came under fire for saying that illegal aliens should be afraid of deportation.
ICE Officer Crane reacted to the post-Trump-win comments of Homan and said, “His current comments sound great, too bad he wasn’t singing that tune during the Obama presidency or even immediately before the election when most bureaucrats thought Clinton would win.”
Breitbart Texas reached out to ICE for comment on Acting Director Homan’s assertion that he helped to author Obama’s immigration priorities and executive orders. We will update the piece if they offer a response.
Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.