Former ICE official Tom Homan blasted the “stone-cold lie” being perpetrated about the Trump administration’s latest immigration enforcement efforts.
The former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, appearing on Fox News Tuesday, called out critics spreading “false narratives” about the administration’s announcement last week to allow illegal immigrants to be held in detention centers for a longer period.
(Video: Fox News)
The Trump administration moved to replace the decades-old Flores Settlement Agreement, a court-ordered rule from a 1980’s case which required illegal alien children detained for longer than 20 days awaiting asylum claims to be separated from their families or released with the family into the U.S.
The new rule, announced by Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan last week, would stop the child separation policy that began with the Obama administration and would take effect October.
DHS announces new rule modifying Flores, creating huge immigration fix https://t.co/U0bxdgQE76
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 21, 2019
The announcement set off a lawsuit by 19 states and the District of Columbia arguing that the Trump administration is planning to hold migrants in “indefinite detention.”
“That’s a stone cold lie,” Homan responded on “America’s Newsroom,” arguing that the same thing was done in the Obama administration and that critics are pushing a false narrative.
“No, we’ve done this before. We did this back in 2015 when we first built family detention centers and they were held about 40 to 50 days, time enough to see a judge. Most of them lost their cases, were sent home and the border numbers went down because we showed the consequence and deterrents,” he told Fox News.
“The second false narrative they push is that they’re going to be held in detention conditions that aren’t acceptable,” Homan continued.
“They’re not going to be held in border patrol stations like we’ve seen in the past few months. They’re going to be held at a family residential center that we’ve built for families. Child psychologists, pediatricians, educational programs, recreation, open-air campus, not behind razor wires and not locked up in jail cells. These facilities were built for families, they’re built for vulnerable populations,” he explained.
Fox News’ Jon Scott asked if the 20-day period of detention, as mandated by the Flores settlement, “is simply not enough to let these people get their cases adjudicated?”
Homan explained that when the Flores decision was handed down, “we warned the court… ‘If you do this, if you make us release them before they see a judge, you’re going to see a surge in family units like you’ve never seen before.’”
“Of course, I was called a fear-mongerer, I didn’t have evidence of it, and look what happened,” he said.
“So holding them in a family residential center for up to 40 or 45 days is not that bad since it’s a facility built for families. It is not a jail cell,” Homan clarified. “And also, if they are really escaping fear or persecution and death in their homeland, I don’t see the downside in detaining them for a couple of weeks longer to see a judge in a family residential center and they will be well taken care of.”
“And the rest of the argument is,” Scott interjected, “if they are released after 20 days, where do they go and are they going to get better care out there somewhere in America if they have no support system, than they’re going to be getting under custody of the federal government.”
Homan asserted that the critics “know it would work,” since it worked before, but they simply want to oppose Trump.
“They don’t want the president to succeed in securing this border. They want this to be a political warfare for 2020,” he said, noting that the left demands migrants have the right to claim asylum and see a judge but then deem the judge’s orders to be meaningless
“You can’t have it both ways, you can’t demand due process and because you don’t like the decision. Tell ICE not to execute the orders because if those orders don’t mean anything, there’s no integrity in the entire system, you might as well just open the border up.”
“There is no other alternative than to have due process and uphold those orders and the only way to guarantee that is to detain them long enough to see a judge,” he argued.
Asked what he would tell the governors of the states suing the administration over the new rule, Homan was blunt and direct.
“I would ask do you really care about these people because when you entice people to come to this country by guaranteeing they won’t be detained, when you vilify ICE trying to carry out judge’s orders…you entice more people to come to this country,” he said.
“At what point do the laws of this country, that were enacted by Congress, need to be enforced?” he added. “We got to stop ignoring it. So this isn’t just about enforcing the law in securing the border, it’s about saving lives. There is no downside to securing our border.”
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