The acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had a message this week for anyone who might be illegally immigrating into the United States.
“If you violate the laws of this country, if you enter illegally, which is a crime, it’s not going to be OK anymore,” Thomas Homan said while speaking at the Border Security Expo in San Antonio on Wednesday.
Homan also called out lawmakers who are trying to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program before actually fixing the immigration issue – a dividing issue that contributed to the recent three-day government shutdown over Congress’ inability to pass a temporary budget.
“If we get a clean DACA bill, shame on all of us,” Homan said. “You can’t address DACA and reward people that brought children here illegally and not address underlying reasons of DACA.”
Homan spoke for about 40 minutes in a speech that The Washington Examiner reported was “passionate” and, at times, surprising.
“Sanctuary cities, end them. Detainers, legislate them. TVPRA [Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act], change it,” he said. “Asylum, raise the bar. We have the knowledge to fix it, but you know what we need is the willpower of Congress … I’ve been doing this 34 years, we’re talking about the same thing every year.”
“People ask me all the time, ‘So why’d you arrest the guy who’s been here 15 years and has two kids?’ Because he had his due process, he got his order from the judge to leave this country. He’s gotta leave,” Homan said. “The billions of dollars we spend on law enforcement means nothing because you chose to have a U.S. citizen child while you knew you were in the country illegally. If that’s the message that you want to continue to send … you are never going to fix the southwest border.”
The acting ICE director also defended the men and women who work for ICE and Border Patrol
“I’m sick and tired of the vilification of the men and women of ICE and the Border Patrol,” Homan said. “This country spends billions of dollars a year on border security, immigration court, detention, immigration judges, attorneys, billions of dollars. At the end of that process, if you get a final order issued by an immigration judge after getting due process at taxpayer expense, if that final order doesn’t mean anything, there’s absolutely no integrity in the entire system.”
Watch a video clip of Homan’s speech here: