Tom Homan, President Trump’s gruff, street tough, hard-nosed acting head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency, is promising to “vastly increase” federal enforcement in California as retribution for having been declared a “sanctuary state.”
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There are dozens of “sanctuary cities” but California is the first state to refuse to cooperate with ICE’s efforts to deport all undocumented aliens no matter how long they have been in the U.S., whether they have children born here or not, even if they have a strong work history, pay taxes and have never committed a crime.
“We’re gonna vastly increase our enforcement footprint in the state of California. We’re gonna be all over the place,” Homan told Fox News. “We’re gonna enforce the law without apology.”
Trump installed Homan early in his term as president to back up his campaign promise to get tough on illegal immigration. Between January and April, under Homan, ICE increased the number of arrests of undocumented U.S. residents by almost 40 percent.
As a Washington Post headline put it: “Thomas Homan deports people. And he’s really good at it.”
That is because, like Trump, Homan brings an almost evangelical passionate to his work.
He is predicting that now that California is a sanctuary state, there will be a big increase in the crime rate, which is his justification to crack down as never before.
“The crime rate in California is gonna increase,” he told Fox News.
“This is a victimization of the American communities,” charges Homan. “We gotta take these sanctuary cities on and we gotta start charging some of these politicians with crimes.”
You read that right. Homan has contacted the U.S. Department of Justice and is demanding that they not only file lawsuits and even criminal charges against cities like San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia that have passed sanctuary city laws – which means the local police, judges, jails and public officials do not have to cooperate with ICE – but he also wants legal charges against politicians like California Gov. Jerry Brown who have passed these sanctuary laws.
“The Department of Justice must hold back funding (for sanctuary cities, which a judge has already declared illegal),” says Homan, “and there’s another thing they need to do. They need to hold these politicians personally accountable.”
Homan says the sanctuary cities are violating the alien smuggling laws. However, several courts have already ruled that cities can pass sanctuary laws and the federal government cannot hold back funds for things like public safety, police equipment or any other items.
Homan is not interested in those judges. He sounds more like he favors vigilante-style laws.
“More citizens are gonna die because of these policies,” fumes Homan, “and these politicians can’t make these decisions and be held unaccountable for people dying We need to hold these politicians accountable for their actions.”
Homan says ICE has to protect Americans from these illegal aliens who will just commit more crimes if not stopped, although he offers up only the most tenuous of evidence.
“If you just Google recidivism rates,” he told Fox News, “at least 50 percent of these criminal aliens being released back into the public will re-offend within the first year; 75 percent will re-offend within five years.”
Actually, a vast body of research shows that is not true, and in fact, undocumented residents often commit fewer crimes than the average person.
Fox News, of all places, recently published an article with the headline: “Illegal immigrant crime wave? Evidence is hard to find.”
“A study of recidivism rates in Los Angeles conducted by two RAND Corporation scholars,” reports the Fox News article, “discovered that there was no difference between rearrest rates over a 30-day period between illegal and legal immigrants.”
The article says that most undocumented people who are arrested are charged with being in the U.S. illegally, or for overstaying their visa, not for a violent crime. Those are civil violations which are punished with deportation.
American cities with the most illegal immigrants,” explains Fox News, “do not have higher crime rates.”
“Fear of an illegal immigrant crime wave is not sparked by the specter of people breaking administrative immigration rules,” they reported, “but by the fear that they are overwhelmingly murderers, rapists, and thieves.”
“In reality,” continues Fox News, “illegal immigrants have lower incarceration rates and live in places with lower crime rates than native-born Americans. Far from perpetrating a crime wave, immigrants actually decrease crime rates.”
Among those undocumented immigrants who end up in federal prison, notes Fox, 46.3 percent are there for non-violent drug charges and 8.2 percent for non-violent immigration violations.
“Based on census data,” adds the Fox report, “the numbers show that illegal immigrants are about 44 percent less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans.”
In actuality, giving undocumented immigrants sanctuary can help stem crime.
“It’s appropriate to have this statewide,” San Jose, California, Mayor Sam Liccardo told NBC Bay Area news, “because if people don’t feel they are in a position of trust, then we won’t get phone calls to police, and we want those phone calls made and witnesses to testify in court.”
The real crime is often the way ICE arbitrarily breaks up established families, takes out men and women with excellent work histories and no criminal records – and then gives the person apprehended few of the legal rights a citizen enjoys – and puts them into horrible conditions before they are deported to a country where they may not have lived for decades.
The increased ICE raids have led to complaints that longtime residents with no criminal records who have families are being grabbed and put into detention centers and harsh private prisons before federal magistrates deport them en masse.
Homan, who started his career as a policeman and border patrol agent in northern New York State, brings a kind of stilted 1950s view of policing and of illegal immigrants to his job, which is why Trump has proposed him as the permanent head of ICE.
It is important that the U.S. have safe borders and that criminals are not free to roam the streets, but it is also important to have sensible, humane laws and regulations that treat each person fairly, based on their own history and actions.
Meet #TomHoman, the acting @ICEgov chair and Trump nominee to be ICE's top guy. He wants to start arresting local politicians he disagrees with. What could possibly go wrong? I've called #ICE agents '#Trump's brownshirts' for a reason. https://t.co/Ot7WsBCEB8
— The Matt McNeil Show (@MattMcNeilShow) January 3, 2018
Homan is an artifact from a darker age of law enforcement that sees things in black and white, while the world has moved on and often operates in shades of gray.
Unfortunately, he has been let loose by a president who also can’t be bothered with facts, and who lives in his own version of the past, colored by his political ambition and a lack of conscience.