“It’s almost like it’s not illegal to be illegally in the United States anymore.”
That’s what former Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan told The Epoch Times in a recent interview.
“It’s almost like it’s not illegal to be illegally in the United States anymore,” Tom Homan said,
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) February 24, 2021
Homan was referencing the “interim operating guidance” for ICE announced Thursday by President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security. It will serve as ICE’s standard procedure until Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas issues new guidelines.
In the announcement, DHS said that “ICE’s interim guidance will focus the agency’s civil immigration enforcement and removal resources on threats to national security, border security and public safety.”
“The operating guidance issued today defines which cases are presumed to present national security, border security and public safety threats, and which cases do not carry such presumptions and thus require prior approval before pursuing,” it said. “Individuals are presumed to present a threat to national security if they have engaged in or are suspected of terrorism or espionage, or if their apprehension is otherwise necessary to protect our national security.”
The statement said that individuals are “presumed to be a border security enforcement priority” if they were “apprehended while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States on or after November 1, 2020,” or if they were not physically present in the United States before November 2020.
Most will read these interim guidelines as par for the course, recognizing that national threats should be a priority.
However, Homan sees it differently.
He has worked in immigration for nearly 35 years, joining the then-Immigrations and Naturalization Service in 1986 and working for the Border Patrol until 2013, when then-President Barack Obama appointed him as executive associate director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Four years later, then-President Donald Trump demoted the director of ICE and put Homan in that role.
Long story short, Homan is a definite authority on immigration.
In his interview Thursday, he told The Epoch Times what ICE’s guidelines actually mean.
“They say it’s public safety, but it’s only the worst of the worst,” Homan said. “When it comes to assault, when it comes to robbery and burglary, and all these other crimes that they’ve taken off the table, they’ve pretty much sent a message to the rest of the world [that] it’s OK to enter the country illegally — as long as you don’t commit a few of the most serious crimes, you’re free to stay, because ICE isn’t looking for you.”
He argued that crimes as seemingly small as driving under the influence ought to be considered a public safety issue, explaining, “I was a police officer. I know what it’s like to run up on a scene of a deadly DUI — it’s terrible.
“And they’ve obviously never talked to an angel mom or angel dad whose child was killed by someone here illegally that was driving drunk.”
The new DHS guidelines also stipulate that if an alien does not fall into one of the prioritized categories, an agent is required to obtain approval from a superior before an arrest. Homan said the idea is absurd.
“It’s ridiculous for a law enforcement officer to have to call a supervisor for permission to enforce the law,” he said. “The law is black and white. Name a state trooper that needs to get approval to write a speeding ticket.”
Homan believes Biden’s immigration approach won’t “solve the immigration crisis,” leaving the border in chaos.
He explained that during the last immigration surge in 2019, “50 to 60 percent of [the Border Patrol’s] manpower is no longer on the border because they’re changing diapers, making hospital runs, taking care of families,” with half or more agents off the front lines.
“President Biden was vice president during the first surge in FY14 and ’15. How did we stop it? We stopped it by building detention facilities and detaining people until they saw a judge.
“So he forgot all the lessons learned, and now he’s trying to stop detention.”
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