Keeping up with a major campaign promise, the Trump administration is cracking down on undocumented immigrants. The measure will continue as acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a blunt warning to all undocumented immigrants.
Acting Director Thomas Homan told the House Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee that the crackdown against undocumented immigrants will continue. He also said that anybody who crosses the border illegally is subject to deportation.
“If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable. You should look over your shoulder and you need to be worried,” he said.
Homan also confirmed that although the priority is to deport immigrants who have committed crimes, non-criminal arrests are also up.
“No population is off the table. We'll issue detainers to anybody in the country illegally," Homan said. "Our priorities are criminals first, but if you're asking me if we are going to put detainers on people that have not been convicted of a crime, yes we will.”
“Most of the criminal aliens we find in the interior of the United States, they entered as a non-criminal. If we wait for them to violate yet another law against a citizen of this country, then it’s too late. We shouldn’t wait for them to become a criminal,” he added.
By defending the agency’s arrests, Homan said the descending numbers of border crossings are results of the agency’s efforts. He also said that because of local law enforcement agency’s lack of cooperation, ICE is forced to make arrests in public.
Homan also added that people shouldn’t feel comfortable and they don’t have to worry about being arrested if they have a deportation order.
“The IRS doesn’t audit everybody, but we all know it’s a possibility. The highway patrol can’t arrest everybody for speeding, but if we speed, we know it’s a possibility we [could] get stopped. It should be no different with immigration enforcement. We’re a law enforcement agency that enforces the law and we shouldn’t play favorites.”
Ever since President Donald Trump assumed office, ICE made 35 percent more arrests nationwide. During the administration's first three months, a total of 41,898 arrests were made. Out of the total, 26 percent of the people were not criminal.
The agency has requested for an additional $1.2 billion increase in budget for fiscal year 2018. The budget will also expand immigrant detention to more than 51,000 beds from about 34,000 beds. The agency plans to hire an additional 1,000 enforcement officers if the request is approved.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters