ICE Director To All Undocumented Immigrants: ‘You Need To Be Worried’
By Elise Foley
WASHINGTON ― The Trump administration will continue arresting undocumented immigrants who haven’t been convicted of crimes and won’t apologize for it, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday.
“If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable,” Acting Director Thomas Homan told the House Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee. “You should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried.”
Following up on Trump’s campaign promise to drive out more undocumented immigrants, ICE arrests rose significantly during the president’s first 100 days in office, compared with the same period the year before. About one-quarter of those arrested ― more than 10,800 people ― were non-criminals, meaning they did not have authorization to be in the U.S., but had not been convicted of a crime. (Being in the U.S. without legal status is a civil offense, although it is a crime to cross the border illegally.)
The Trump administration has come under fire from activists and Democratic lawmakers for its deportation practices. Homan, testifying before the subcommittee to explain the agency’s request for additional funding, devoted much of his prepared remarks to arguing those criticisms are unfair. He echoed Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who has said ICE is enforcing laws passed by Congress.
ICE requested a $1.2 billion increase in funding for next fiscal year. Nearly $4.9 billion would expand immigrant detention to more than 51,000 beds from about 34,000 beds ― the number Congress requires ICE to maintain. The budget request also would allow the agency to hire an additional 1,000 enforcement officers and about 600 support […]