Speaking on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” Thursday night, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting Director Thomas Homan assured local California police officials that “ICE has your six” and “will never turn our back on law enforcement.”
Homan spoke specifically to officers in the Oakland Police Department, the day after the city council voted unanimously to cease cooperating with ICE and its operations. California lawmakers approved legislation last year making it a sanctuary state in 2018.
The acting director promised the officers that “if you’re out there doing a lawful operation and you are in need of assistance, if you find yourself in trouble and there’s an ICE agent within earshot or in the area, we will do everything we can in our legal authority to assist you.”
“We will do everything we can to make sure you go home safe to your families,” he said. “We will never turn our back on law enforcement. ICE has your six.” Having somebody’s “six” is a military/law enforcement term referring to covering a colleague’s back from attack.
Liberal California politicians and officials expressed outrage earlier in the week when it was reported ICE was planning to crack down on illegal immigrants and conduct sweeping raids across Northern California despite the state’s sanctuary status. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) even wrote a letter to Homan on Wednesday in which they denounced the “troubling reports” of impending immigration raids.
“We firmly believe that law enforcement must prioritize dangerous criminals, not undocumented immigrants who do not pose a threat to public safety,” the Democrats wrote. “Diverting resources in an effort to punish California and score political points is an abhorrent abuse of power, not to mention a terrible misuse of scarce resources.”
But Homan offered a message of his own to Feinstein and Harris, noting that ICE’s decision to increase its resources in California “is in direct response to the sanctuary laws that forced me in that position.”
“Let me say this about the [senators] that wrote the letter — I didn’t think Congress is in the business of enacting laws they don’t want law enforcement to enforce,” Homan said. “I’m enforcing the laws that Congress enacted. And for them to say that I shouldn’t be enforcing the laws, there would be no integrity in the entire system.”
“We’re simply a law enforcement agency that has a sworn duty to enforce the laws of this country,” he added. “I’m doing what they tell me to do. I’m enforcing laws that they enacted. I’m enforcing laws that the president has signed.”
The acting ICE director also asked whether there are any other federal or local law enforcement agencies around “where congressmen or elected officials or attorney generals say, ‘Do not enforce the law,’” noting that “no one asks the FBI not to enforce law.”