The acting director of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), fired back at a Democratic congresswoman who was berating the agency for arresting illegal aliens.
Here’s what happened
The interaction came during a hearing before the House Homeland Security subcommittee on Central American migration and border security. Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-Calif.) said that she was offended by the “anti-immigrant” agenda she said was being supported by ICE.
“Now we love to talk about this issue about the MS-13 gangs,” she said. “We love to paint immigrants as criminals. That is not the complete facts. And that is very offensive for me to see continuing to happen.”
“It’s continuing to message this. This anti-immigrant agenda,” she continued. “There are many of lots of good immigrants.”
Barragan went on to praise those illegal immigrants who received amnesty under former President Obama through DACA, and talked about her experience helping an immigrant apply for asylum.
“And so it makes me sick to my stomach to keep hearing over and over again,” she added, “painting the broad stroke and the picture as though these are folks who are coming here to do harm. And so it’s just unbelievable to me how this rhetoric continues, and to see it continue in a campaign season just gets even worse and worse.”
“I have a job to do, I have to enforce the law”
Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan shot back at Barragan’s comments and defended ICE and their agents from the criticism.
“First of all, no one on this panel is anti-immigrant,” he said. “We’re law enforcement officers to enforce the law that you all enacted. So to sit there and say that we’re anti-immigrant is wrong.”
“We are enforcing the laws,” he explained. “If you think it’s OK to enter this country illegally and you shouldn’t be arrested, that’s just wrong. The laws clearly state when you enter the country illegally, it’s a crime.”
“And no one is up here saying all illegal aliens are criminals,” he added. “A certain percentage of them are criminals – they commit yet another offense after they’re here.”
“I have said many times I certainly understand the plight of these people,” he concluded, “and I feel bad for some of these people. But I have a job to do, I have to enforce the law and uphold the oath that I took to enact the laws enacted by you, Congress.”
Watch Homan’s comments at the end of the video below:
Barragan offered a rebuttal in the form of a tweet in support of illegal alien advocate supporters who protested against ICE at the hearing in Congress.
— Nanette D. Barragán (@RepBarragan) May 22, 2018
“I hear you loud and clear,” she tweeted and included a hashtag reading, “refugees welcome here.”