President Obama Honors Thomas Homan for Jailing and Deporting Toddlers

Thomas Homan (Via ICE)

Thomas Homan (Via ICE)

SECOND UPDATE, April 27, 2015 11amET:

Shortly after this article was published to LatinoRebels.com, the Washington Post advised that a second change to its article was made. Here are the changes:

And last year, the percentage of illegal immigrants with criminal records reached a record share of total deportations, ICE officials said. The number of those deported with criminal records has declined in recent years, however.

Homan managed these deportations with the help of an expanded fingerprinting system that local police departments share with immigration authorities.

Additionally, the article now includes this editor’s note:

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that in 2015, Homan’s team was responsible for a record percentage of total ICE deportations of undocumented immigrants with criminal histories. The story had incorrectly stated the team was responsible for a “record number” of deportations of these migrants when in fact the number of those deported with criminal histories declined.

FIRST UPDATE, April 27, 2015 11amET: Lisa Rein, the Washington Post reporter who authored the article on Thomas Homan, made an addition. (in bold)

Last year, Homan managed the deportation of a record number of illegal immigrants with criminal histories with the help of an expanded fingerprinting system that local police departments share with immigration authorities. Migrants with criminal convictions made up 59 percent of deportations last year, the largest percentage of the agency’s removals in recent years, ICE officials said. Migrants with criminal convictions made up 59 percent of deportations last year, the largest percentage of the agency’s removals in recent years, ICE officials said.

I appreciate Ms. Rein’s prompt response to the concerns I raised with her and the Post’s executive editor, Martin Baron. However, the addition cited to above does little if anything to mitigate the false statements that remain in the article.

The Post now makes two factual claims that are irreconcilable 1. In 2015, Homan was responsible for the deportation of a “record number” of immigrants with criminal histories; and 2. In 2015, Homan was responsible for the deportation of a  “record percentage”  of immigrants deported had criminal histories.

A number is not a percentage, as the words’ respective definitions demonstrate:

The facts are clear: Mr. Homan never managed the deportation of a record number of immigrants with criminal histories. A percentage can only be understood in the context of a number within a greater number. It is a word of an entirely different species than that of the word number.

As described in the original article below, the difference is crucial because in 2015 Mr. Homan managed the deportation of the second-lowest number of immigrants with criminal histories in the history of  Obama’s presidency.

As such, the Washington Post must withdraw its claim that Mr. Homan managed the deportation of a record number of immigrants with criminal histories.

There are numerous other problems with the article not mentioned previously, such as the blanket reference to all those who have been deported as  “illegal immigrants.” As we have pointed out numerous times in the past, the use of the word “illegal” to describe immigrants is often fundamentally inaccurate.

For example, many immigrants who were deported were legal residents of the United States until they were physically deported to their native countries. Immigrants can be have legal status or be lawfully present in the United States  and be removable or deportable at the same time.

Also, Ms. Rein clings to the “illegal immigrant” to describe hundreds of children, many of whom were infants and toddlers. Toddlers cannot knowingly come to the United States illegally. For example, an adult can be charged with a federal misdemeanor crime for unlawfully entering the United States. A toddler cannot. 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

This week, The Washington Post wrote an extraordinarily inaccurate and unbalanced article covering President Obama’s bestowal of the “Presidential Rank Award” to ICE’s top Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) branch.

Let’s start with the most obvious, where the author asserts the following statement of fact:

Last year, Homan managed the deportation of a record number of illegal immigrants with criminal histories with the help of an expanded fingerprinting system that local police departments share with immigration authorities.

This is false, as one can see from ICE’s own chart provided below and from analysis here.

crim. convictions.

Homan was promoted to director of ERO in May of 2013, according to his own declaration in federal lawsuit against family detention. Coinciding with Homan’s promotion to boss, FY 2013 saw ICE removals of individuals with criminal convictions decrease for the first time in Obama’s presidency–from 225,416 in FY 2012 to 217,399 in FY 2013. In FY 2014, the number decreased again to 176,928 and again in FY 2015 to the second lowest on record during Obama’s presidency, 139,368.

To be fair, ICE’s press release on Homan’s award was written to intentionally create the false impression that ICE removed a record number of immigrants with criminal convictions:

Several other agency records were established in FY 2015 under the direction of EAD Homan. Ninety-one percent of all interior arrests by ERO were aliens that had a criminal conviction― an agency record.  Fifty-nine percent of all aliens removed from the U.S. by ERO were convicted criminals ― another agency record. And finally, a record 98 percent of FY 2015 removals met one or more of the civil immigration enforcement priorities, which constitutes a near perfect execution of the stated mission.

With its army of public affairs staffers (at least 29 full-time with salaries averaging well over 100k per year), ICE managed to create a record on removing individuals with criminal convictions while removing a near-record low number of individuals with criminal convictions.

Put differently if ICE only removed 10 individuals in FY 2015 and 9 of those individuals had criminal convictions, ICE could still claim it removed a record percentage of individuals with criminal convictions. But who cares, right? It’s Obama, he can do no wrong.

The author’s failure to exercise due diligence on the facts then enabled the following to happen wild misrepresentations to follow:

By following the Obama administration’s directive to sharpen the focus of enforcement on criminals and foreigners who pose security threats, “we executed the mission perfectly,” Homan said.

And this:

Instead, “we arrest a lot of bad guys,” he said. “We prevent crimes.”

Why is Homan being awarded when the number of  individuals removed with criminal convictions declined every consecutive year that he has been in charge?

For the same reason that Homan feels he must say that “he is not ashamed of” what he does.

He is really being awarded for his loyal execution of Obama’s orders to detain (illegally) and deport (illegally and deprived of due process) refugee children and families fleeing war in Central America.

Indeed, in that same Senate hearing referred to in the Post’s article, Homan stated that he had “129 fugitive operation teams out there every day” who are working on “thousands of leads on unaccompanied children who have final orders issued by the immigration courts.”

The total number of ICE fugitive operations teams is 129.

Therefore, Homan appears to have admitted under oath that his agency has assigned all of its 129 fugitive operations teams to exclusively seek out the arrest of unaccompanied children and families for deportation.

Perhaps so many of ICE’s rank and file are demoralized and “beaten down” because Mr. Homan has so willingly and gleefully forced them focus on hunting down, jailing and deporting  children?

Keep the award to yourself, Mr. Homan.

***

Bryan Johnson is a partner at the law firm of Amoachi and Johnson, PLLC in New York. His office represents over 300 Central American children in fighting their deportation by securing permanent legal protection through asylum and special immigrant juvenile status.

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