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ICE Director Calls Immigrants “Perpetrators” And Blames Them For Breaking Up Families

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Thomas Homan
Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Last week, Thomas Homan, acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) sent out a warning to undocumented immigrants during a hearing with the Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee.

“If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable. You should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried,” he warned.

Homan also put the responsibility on immigrants for breaking up their own families, taking the blame away from law enforcement. “It isn’t the fault of law enforcement that people get separated. It’s the fault of the perpetrator,” he said to the subcommittee. “If someone enters this country illegally and knows he’s in the country illegally and is found to be in the country illegally and is ordered removed from the country and chooses to have a child in this country that’s a US citizen by virtue of birth, he put himself in that position, so ICE is not separating that family.”

When asked days later about his comments before Congress, the acting director told CNN he had “zero regrets” because it “needed to be said.”

Immigration arrests rose 38 percent under the Trump administration compared to the same period last year under Barack Obama. In three months, ICE officers arrested over 41,000 people, around 400 people a day, according to statistics released by the organization. Some of these arrests have been making headlines including the arrest of Diego Ismael Puma Macancela, an Ecuadorian national who was arrested hours before his prom and days before his graduation.