Former acting ICE Director Tom Homan left New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speechless during Friday’s congressional hearings on the subject of border family separations.
The exchange started when Ocasio-Cortez attempted to nail Homan down as the “writer” of the document he had signed for the “family separation strategy.”
Homan noted that, while he did not write the policy, he had made “numerous recommendations” to Homeland Security, including implementing a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossers.
“Which includes family separation,” Ocasio-Cortez interrupted.
“The same as it is with every U.S. citizen,” Homan shot back. “Parent [who] gets arrested with a child.”
A seemingly rattled Ocasio-Cortez said after a short pause, “Zero tolerance has been interpreted as the policy separating the kids from their relatives.”
“If I get arrested for DUI and I have a young child in the car I’m gonna be separated,” Homan said.
“When I was a police officer in New York and I arrested a father for domestic violence, I separated that father from his family.”
“Mr. Homan, with all due respect, legal asylees are not charged with any crime,” said the congresswoman.
But Homan was ready, with a specific U.S. code no less: “When you’re in this country illegally, it’s violation 8, United States Code 1325.”
“Seeking asylum is legal,” she insisted.
“If you want to seek asylum, you go through a port of entry,” he responded. “Do it the legal way. The Attorney General of the United States has made that clear.”
“Okay,” said Ocasio-Cortez.
Democrats produced a lot of political hay because the Trump administration once separated kids of illegal immigrants from their relatives at the frontier, even though the practice was also common under the administration of former President Obama.