ICE acting director Thomas Homan leveled a scathing rebuke at Rep. Nanette Barragan for slamming his organization as “anti-immigrant.”
The California Democrat lectured Homan and other officials during a House Homeland Security subcommittee meeting Tuesday, declaring that the anti-immigrant rhetoric “makes me sick to my stomach.”
Homan, the acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency who will be retiring in June, addressed the congresswoman’s insults without mincing words.
“First of all no one on this panel is anti-immigrant,” Homan said. “We’re law enforcement officers enforcing laws that you all enacted. So to sit there and say we’re anti-immigrant is wrong. We are enforcing laws. If you think it’s okay to enter this country illegally, shouldn’t be arrested, that’s just wrong.”
“That laws clearly state–you enter the country illegally is a crime. And no one’s up here saying all illegal aliens are criminals. A certain percentage of them are criminals, they commit yet another offense after they’re here,” he continued.
“I have said many times I certainly understand the plight of these people and I feel bad for some of these people but I have a job to do,” Homan said. “I have to enforce the law and uphold the oath I took to enact the laws enacted by you, Congress.”
Barragan spent more than two minutes ranting about how “offensive” it was to her that immigrants seeking asylum are portrayed as criminals by those with a so-called anti-immigration viewpoint.
“We love to paint immigrants as criminals,” she said, defending immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as “the people we need in this country” because they “produce and contribute” to the economy.
“It makes me sick to my stomach to keep hearing over and over again, painting the broad stroke and the picture, as though these are folks who are coming over here to do harm, Barragan said. “It’s just unbelievable to me how this rhetoric continues and to see it continue in a campaign season just gets even worse and worse.”
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