Thomas Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous men in America. During a speech this past week, Homan told the audience that he was “enjoying” his job as the mass deportation architect of Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant vision, calling for a “400 percent increase in worksite” raids and doubling-down on his remark from last year that immigrant families with no criminal record should be living in perpetual fear of his mass deportation agents:
“I’ll never back down on those words,” Homan said at the Border Security Expo in San Antonio, a conference that connects law enforcement with companies looking to win contracts. “If you violate the laws of this country, if you enter illegally―which is a crime―it’s not going to be OK anymore.”
But while Homan claims ICE is picking up so-called “bad hombres” and others who pose a threat to public safety, Homan is the threat to public safety. Just days ago, ICE deported Amer "Al” Adi Othman, an Ohio dad and businessman, after nearly 40 years in the U.S. The dad had no criminal record and had actually been trying to follow the rules by going to his regular check-in with the agency. This week, ICE agents also stalked and arrested Chicago Dreamer Christian Gomez Garcia at traffic court. Like Amer, Christian has no criminal record and was in court for running a stop sign.
In response to senseless deportations and in support of their immigrant communities, various localities across the nation have enacted police-supported policies that follow the law and limit cooperation with Trump’s mass deportation agenda. Local law enforcement know that when immigrant communities trust police, their jobs are easier and neighborhoods are safer. Instead, Homan went on state news television to say that the Department of Justice needs "to file charges against the sanctuary cities" and “start charging some of these politicians with crimes.”
“In an interview with Fox News's Neil Cavuto, ICE acting Director Thomas Homan said the Department of Justice needs ‘to file charges against the sanctuary cities’ and "hold back their funding.’” The Trump administration attempts to defund so-called “sanctuary cities” have repeatedly been smacked down in the courts, but like Attorney General and America’s most racist Keebler elf Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, Homan isn’t giving up on his anti-immigrant war:
Homan, who was announced in December as President Trump's pick to permanently run the agency, went on to say that politicians enforcing sanctuary city policies need to be held "personally accountable."
"We gotta take [sanctuary cities] to court, and we gotta start charging some of these politicians with crimes," he said.
An infuriated and vindictive Homan has already threatened to escalate workplace and neighborhoods raids in California, in direct retaliation to the state passing Senate Bill 54, legislation that immigrant rights advocates have called the most sweeping anti-deportation law in the nation. And, Homan’s already started to follow through on his threat:
On Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers began conducting raids of 77 businesses in the Bay Area and Sacramento region over the past week. The officers demanded that the businesses in question provide proof that their employees were legally permitted to work in the United States.
NBC reported on Thursday that Homeland Security began serving the 77 business owners with I-9 audits on Monday and continued to do so through Wednesday. The notices inform employers that their records will be inspected and that they will be required to present their company’s I-9s within three business days.
The Chronicle reported that this series of raids is believed to be the largest instance of localized workplace sweeps since Trump took office.
Homan has also promised that because of the state’s new law, California will be on the receiving end of “collateral arrests,” a crass term describing when non-targets are swept up in targeted raids because they happened to be there at the time. “ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites,” the agency said, “which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community.” To add insult to injury, ICE says they’ll hold immigrants far from family: “ICE will also likely have to detain individuals arrested in California in detention facilities outside of the state, far from any family they may have in California.”
Meanwhile in other states, unshackled federal immigration agents have flouted their own policy dictating that schools and churches should be “sensitive locations” mostly off-limits to enforcement actions by arresting dads as they dropped their kids off at schools in New Jersey and arresting immigrant men leaving a church hypothermia shelter in Virginia. In Rhode Island, Lilian Gordillo thought she was going to government officials to get a step close to legalizing her status through her U.S. citizen husband. Instead, she was arrested.
ICE has been ruthless under Democratic and Republican administrations alike, but following Trump unleashing mass deportation agents by throwing out previous enforcement priorities, ICE has newly become, Jamelle Bouie writes, an “empowered and authoritarian agency that operates with impunity, whose chief attribute is unapologetic cruelty … ICE has become something far more sinister: a draconian force for harassing and detaining people who pose no threat to the United States or its citizens.” And the head of that snake is Thomas Homan:
What the country needs, in other words, is an honest discussion about whether ICE can be effectively reformed or if it must be abolished and replaced by an agency that can carry out its mission in a more effective and humane way.