Former ICE director Tom Homan slammed Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and her Democratic colleagues on Thursday for holding President Donald Trump and his administration to a different standard than they had for former President Barack Obama.
During the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on immigrant detention facilities, Jayapal criticized the Trump administration for skirting Congressional authority and financing agency operations with millions of dollars that were initially slated for other functions.
“I’d like to remind you that under the Obama administration we did that most of the years he was president. We moved money around [the Department of Homeland Security] — it’s called reprogramming,” Homan responded. “We did that under the Obama administration and I don’t remember any hearings on that.”
Homan also fired back over Democrats’ seeming outrage regarding family separation. During the Obama administration, the federal courts ruled that the government is prohibited from detaining children for longer than 20 days. Since the 20-day window is generally not long enough to process the detained families, children and their accompanying adults are consequently separated as not to violate what is referred to as the Flores Settlement Agreement. However, Democrats have been lambasting Trump for residing over policies that keep children in cages.
“You are quick to point out the cages that were built under the Obama administration. I was there. Family detention — we had 100 family beds under the Obama administration and we built 3,000 more,” Homan said. “When there was a surge in [2014 and 2015], Congress was quick to give all the money we needed to build detention facilities, get transportation contracts. We reprogrammed money out of the majority of the years he was president — that was fine.”
“If this is about transparency, let’s be factual about it,” he added.
Jayapal, who serves as the subcommittee’s chairwoman, tried to defend her position by stating that she was never in favor of those policies, even while Obama was in office. She subsequently cut off Homan’s time.
“Be honest with the American people. You can’t point out faults in the Trump administration when it happened under the Obama administration,” he interjected. “That’s dishonesty. It’s pathetic and it’s sad.”
Earlier during the hearing, Homan took a shot at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and members of her Democratic caucus for vilifying law enforcement officers. The self-proclaimed “radical” congresswoman ignited a firestorm in June after she compared illegal immigrant detention facilities to Nazi concentration camps.
While members of the media and some of her Democratic colleagues tried to defend the comparison, she was largely met with backlash for her historical inaccuracy and insensitivity to the millions of Jews who were slaughtered in concentration camps during the Holocaust.
“That comparison is 100% inaccurate and it is disgusting,” Homan said during the hearing. “Now forgive me, I didn’t think Nazi death camps had detention standards, I didn’t think they had health care, I didn’t think they had recreation, law libraries, visitation, three squares a day. It’s an insulting comparison.”
Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) later reiterated the offensiveness of the comparison.
“Thank you for saying that,” Homan responded. “I wish someone in Democratic leadership would say that out loud.”
“Look, you want to know why there is 50,000 people in detention? You want to know why there are a million illegal entries in the United States? You want to know why we have these issues? Because you have failed to secure the border,” he continued. “You guys failed to work with this president to close the three loopholes we’ve asked for two years to close.” You have failed the American people by not securing the border.”
Jayapal again cut off Homan’s time and slammed the gavel for silence.