The former head of ICE spent most of his allotted time at a Thursday House hearing on immigration shouting at Democratic Congress members — and then erupted when he was told his time was up.
Thomas Homan, who served as the acting director of ICE from January 2017 to June 2018, used the majority of his 5 minutes of testimony to chastise Democratic politicians for criticizing the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Homan, a longtime federal immigration enforcement official, oversaw a nearly 40% increase in immigration arrests during his brief tenure as ICE chief in the Trump administration. He is now a Fox News contributor.
When Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the House Judiciary Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee, told Homan his time had expired and banged her gavel to silence him, the former ICE director lost it.
“I respect the chair’s authority, but the chair… You work for me!” Homan shot back. “I’m a taxpayer — you work for me.”
Earlier in the hearing, Homan accused Democratic members of Congress of hypocrisy and dishonesty for comparing immigrant detention facilities to concentration camps, as well as for supporting the Obama administration’s expansion of immigration detention.
“I'd like to remind you, under the Obama administration we did that most of the years he was president," Homan said. "I don't remember any hearings on that."
“I didn’t like it under the Obama administration,” Jayapal responded. “And I’ll also remind you, Mr. Homan, that you also testified before Congress in support of the Obama [administration]’s priorities enforcement program before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 19, 2016.”
“Can I respond to that?” Homan asked. When Jayapal said no, because his time ran out, he said, sarcastically, “Of course not.”
Cover: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Former Acting Director Thomas Homan testifies before the House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on use of ICE detention at Capitol Hill, on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)