Former Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan will join the administration as the new border czar, President Trump announced this morning.
“Tom Homan’s coming back; I would say that would be announced next week except I’d rather announce it now,” Trump said on Fox News. “He’s going to be very much involved with the border; that’s what he really wants to be involved with.”
“He’ll be a border czar, he’ll be very much involved in the border. He’ll be directly reporting to me, working out of the White House but spending a lot of time at the border,” Trump continued. “He’s a good man, he’s a good man.”
Homan, who filled the role of acting ICE director in January 2017, announced in April 2018 his plans to retire that month. He is currently a Fox News contributor.
Homan had originally planned to retire with the incoming administration in January 2017 but was convinced to stay on as acting director until a permanent ICE director could be found. He was nominated to permanently fill the role in November 2017 but was not confirmed by the Senate.
Ronald D. Vitiello, then acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, was named the new deputy director and acting director for ICE by then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Nielsen praised Homan upon his retirement as “a part of the DHS community since he entered on duty as a Border Patrol Agent more than 30 years ago.”
“Under his exceptional leadership, the men and women of ICE have made significant progress in restoring the rule of law to our immigration system and countering criminals such as human smugglers and those attempting to exploit children. This past year has seen arrests increase by 40 percent, interior removals increase by 30 percent, and the highest number of MS-13 arrests since 2008. Additionally in 2017, ICE seized approximately 7,000 pounds of heroin and more than 2,300 pounds of fentanyl,” she said.
“Employee morale also rose to its highest level since 2010, due in large part to Acting Director Homan’s passionate leadership,” Nielsen added. “In recognition of his exceptional service, Tom was honored with the 2015 Presidential Rank Award and more recently, with the 2018 Law Enforcement Leader of the Year award from the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. His faithful, professional, and tireless dedication to ICE and our nation has been a model of excellence for us all.”
Asked about Trump’s surprise withdrawal of Vitiello’s nomination, as the president said he wanted to go in “a tougher direction,” Homan told HSToday in April, “I like Ron. I’ve known Ron 25 years. I don’t know what he was thinking.”