President Trump’s deportation chief will step down from his job, administration sources confirmed Monday, short-circuiting what would have been a bruising battle with Congress over his confirmation and leaving a massive hole for Mr. Trump to fill.
Thomas D. Homan, who has been acting as the head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since the beginning of the Trump administration, has been the president’s most vocal advocate for a get-tough policy toward illegal immigrants.
He’s battled sanctuary cities, warned illegal immigrants to “be afraid” of getting deported, and has even asked the Justice Department to prosecute local officials who refuse to cooperate with his officers and agents.
“It has been the honor of my life to lead the men and women of ICE for more than a year. The decision to leave federal service after more than 34 years is bittersweet, but my family has sacrificed a lot in order for me to serve and it’s time for me to focus on them,” Mr. Homan plans to say in announcing his decision.
“I am humbled and inspired by the 20,000 American patriots who serve this agency and protect our nation, increasingly in the face of unfair and false criticism from politicians and the media,” he will say.
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported his departure, said Mr. Homan will step down in June.
He will make the announcement Monday night where he will receive the Law Enforcement Leader of the Year award from the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.
Mr. Homan is currently the deputy director at ICE but there is no director, so he’s been performing the top role since January 2017. Mr. Trump last year nominated him to the director’s position permanently, but the nomination had barely budged since then.
Mr. Homan had actually had a retirement party last year when the incoming Trump administration asked him to stay on as the acting director, while they searched for a nominee.
He eventually ended up being the pick himself.
Last week Democrats blamed the administration for the delays with Mr. Homan’s nomination, saying Homeland Security, which oversees ICE, was withhold information the Senate had requested in order to process the nomination.
Led by Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, the Democratic senators said the administration was afraid to put Mr. Homan in front of the Senate, where lawmakers could question him over his record and, perhaps, try to defeat his nomination.
Mr. Durbin said Mr. Homan’s departure doesn’t relieve pressure on ICE.
“Last week, I called on @DHSgov to produce documents related to this controversial nomination. Now we learn that the nominee is leaving, but ICE still has critical questions to answer about the agency’s role in the President’s mass deportation agenda,” the Illinois Democrat said on Twitter.
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