Thomas Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who served under President Obama and continued his service at the request of John Kelly, has announced his intention to retire in June.
A release issued by ICE indicates that Homan’s retirement was based on family and personal reasons, but the reported belief is that he resigned over frustrations with Kristjen Nielson, the Homeland Security Secretary.
Homan had been cut out of negotiations with Congress related to the fate of the Dreamers or individuals who arrived in the United States as children with parents who were undocumented and were therefore undocumented themselves.
Homan was at the helm of ICE during a period where arrests increased 40 percent. He also wrote a memorandum that encouraged the prosecution of undocumented individuals who crossed the border with their children.
However, he also helped steer an Obama-era policy that allowed enforcement agents to use discretion in deciding whether to enforce immigration laws against undocumented individuals who were convicted of minor offenses and undocumented individuals with families.
Homan was also one of the loudest voices opposing so-called “sanctuary cities.”
“ICE has a lot of tools at their disposal to try and find undocumented individuals and have them deported,” said James O. Hacking, III, a Deportation Defense Attorney with the Hacking Law Practice, LLC in St. Louis, MO. “Mr. Homan felt strongly about enforcing those deportation rules using all of the tools available, just as any deportation defense attorney may use all of the tools available to protect someone from deportation.”
Given the current climate as it relates to immigration and immigrant rights, it is unlikely that any individual named to head ICE will be any less aggressive with the enforcement of immigration laws.
Being caught up in the immigration system means facing a system that has a heavy backlog of cases and that can take several months to just hear an initial claim for asylum.