June 29, 2022

A top Trump official just retired in humiliating fashion

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The blunt, tough-talking former policeman who has led President Trump’s controversial and morally repugnant campaign of abuse and terror against undocumented migrants – but whose appointment to be the permanent head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau has been stalled in the Senate – has suddenly decided to retire, which will require his resignation when the time comes.


Thomas D. Homan, who has been acting director of ICE since Trump was inaugurated as president in January 2017,  has been outspoken in his extremism, saying that anyone in the U.S. illegally should live in fear of being deported and that politicians who create sanctuary cities should be prosecuted for a crime.

Reversing President Obama’s order not to arrest undocumented migrants who have not broken a law, ICE under Homan has pushed ICE to arrest anyone – often without a  warrant –  no matter how long they have lived here, even if they have children or served in the U.S. military, and even if they have obeyed all laws.

“If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by being in this country,” Hotman told the House Appropriations Committee in June 2017, “you should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder. You need to be worried.”

“No population,” he added, “is off the table.”

Under Homan, ICE has racked up a long list of horrifying human rights abuses while making mass arrests and deportations commonplace.

“During FY 2018,” reports The Atlantic, “ICE reports that its average daily (jail) population has been 40,726…That staggering expansion—65 percent in a single year—would have vaulted ERO to a spot somewhere around No. 7. Its population would rank in size behind only the federal prison system and those of California, Florida, Georgia, New York, and Texas.”

Homan, 57-years-old, was described by The Washington Post as “a plainspoken…former patrolman from far-upstate New York (who has) worked almost every job at the agency now called (ICE)” since joining it in 1989.

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President Obama promoted Homan to the number two job at ICE but he was frustrated by the president’s limits on what the agency could do.

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Under Trump, the gloves have come off.

In his first year (2017) ICE arrests jumped 40 percent, and arrests of aliens with no criminal record rose 171 percent.

Under Trump, Homan changed the policy that allowed for the release of pregnant women to hospitals despite the poor quality of healthcare in detention centers, saw the deaths of 12 migrants in custody and instituted a deliberately cruel policy of separating children from their parents out of sheer spite.

Homan not only is against sanctuary city laws but also targets those cities for increased arrests by ICE agents, often without advance warning or warrants.

It took the Trump administration ten months after it first gave Homan the temporary appointment to nominate him as the permanent director of ICE, which was seen as unusual considering the high priority Trump laced on dealing with illegal immigration.

Since then the nomination has been in limbo with no hearing scheduled, as opponents on both the left and right have complained about Homan for either being too aggressive or not aggressive enough,.

Earlier this month it was a group of 20 Democrat Senators who demanded that Homeland Security turn over documents requested in relation to Homan’s nomination and raised questions about why the Republicans have not moved forward with a hearing. 

“We understand that the Trump Administration may be concerned about Mr. Homan answering questions under oath about his leadership of ICE, as well as the possibility that Mr. Homan’s nomination could be defeated in the Senate,” the Democrats wrote in the letter.

“They also questioned whether Homan’s acting appointment as the ICE head violates the Federal Vacancies Reform Act,” reports The Washington Post, “arguing that it subsequently “raises serious questions about the legality of Mr. Homan’s actions as the acting head of ICE.”

“The absence of a Senate-confirmed head of ICE for more than a year hinders Congressional oversight and the efficient operation of the agency and is troubling in any circumstance,” the Democrats wrote. “Moreover, it is completely unacceptable at a time when the Trump Administration is making radical — and in some cases possibly illegal — changes in immigration enforcement policies and practices.”

Now, days after the Democrats raised the heat, Homan plans to announce his retirement tonight at a law enforcement dinner, claiming that it is something he has been considering for some time.

“He decided earlier this year,” the Washington Examiner reported today. “He informed DHS leadership at the end of January. They asked for him to stay on to assist with the transition.”

Knowing Trump, he will find another hard-nosed authoritarian to run the agency and keep the pressure on undocumented aliens and anyone else who falls into their net.

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Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reported that an American citizen was held by ICE for 1,273 days by mistake and that his case isn’t unusual.

ICE agents “repeatedly target U.S. citizens for deportation by mistake, making wrongful arrests based on incomplete government records, bad data, and lax investigations, according to an L.A. Times review of federal lawsuits, internal ICE documents and interviews.”

Homan ran the agency like a vigilante group that was above the law, which may be how Trump likes it, but which is a violation of American law and the tradition of fairness to all. 

Homan will not be missed, but the danger is Trump’s next appointment could be worse.

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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