ICE Chief Says Enforcement Critics Focusing on Wrong Issue
Homan says the question is not the share of crimes illegals commit; it's how many felonies could be prevented by securing U.S. borders
Critics of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies invariably argue that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than American citizens.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting Director Thomas Homan said Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that the statistic is irrelevant.
“That’s not the right question to ask,” he said. “The question to ask is how many crimes could be prevented if these people weren’t in this country illegally?”
Homan (pictured above) said no crimes by illegal immigrants should be tolerated.
"Every crime committed by an illegal alien — I don't care what the percentage is — is a crime that could have been prevented if they weren't here illegally," he said. "That's what they should be asking themselves."
When "sanctuary" jurisdictions release criminals who are unlawfully present in the United States, Homan argued, they endanger public safety.
"Anybody on your show can Google recidivism rates," he said to host Laura Ingraham.
Those statistics show that about half of the people convicted of crimes commit a new offense within a year and that roughly three-quarters get arrested again within five years, Homan said.
"The bottom line is we have example after example after example of, you know, cases where we've put detainers on somebody," he said. "We put a detainer on somebody in Sonoma County [in California] for domestic violence; they didn't honor the detainer, [he] got released, and guess what? He went out and killed that person that he was assaulting."
"It just doesn't make sense to release someone who's a public safety risk back into the public."
Homan said his agency has the support of rank-and-file law enforcement officers in California, the most stridently anti-ICE state in the country — where Trump headed Tuesday to inspect prototypes of the wall he wants to build along the Mexican border.
"It just doesn't make sense to release someone who's a public safety risk back into the public," he said. "The line officers agree with us. The sheriffs agree with us. I mean, law enforcement is concerned about public safety threats in the state of California. I just wish the politicians had as much concern as the experts in law enforcement do."
Homan said even immigrant communities support deporting criminals.
"When you release a criminal alien back to the street, where are they gonna go?" he asked. "They're gonna go back to the communities where they live. They victimize the very people within the communities they live."
Homan said his biggest concern is that he will get a call in the middle of the night informing him that one of his agents died trying to arrest a dangerous criminal "he could have easily gotten in the safety and security of the county jail."
Homan said the work of ICE contributed to a 45-year low last year in illegal border crossings.
"That has had a significant effect on the southwest border," he said. "So, we've shown we can fix this problem. Let us finish this fight. Let's fix it."
Homan said he is hopeful, however.
"My hope is that these politicians in California and Chicago and New York and Denver — I could go on and on — start putting safety, public safety, ahead of their political ambitions," he said.
Homan also criticized Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who on Monday accused the Trump administration of using tax dollars for a "political game" and putting a "target" on California's back instead of doing what's in the best interests of the state.
"As U.S. senator, her first commitment should be to the safety and security of her communities that she represents," he said. "I would think as U.S. senator, she'd want us to enforce laws that Congress enacted. I didn't know Congress was in the business of enacting laws they didn't want enforced."