The horrific incident involving dozens of immigrants allegedly smuggled into the U.S. in a sweltering tractor-trailer is proof that illegal immigration is “not a victimless crime,” the acting head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told Fox News on Monday.
“It's a message I've been trying to get out as long as I've been the acting ICE director,” Thomas Homan said on "Your World with Neil Cavuto."
Federal authorities have since charged the alleged driver of the tractor-trailer, James Mathew Bradley Jr., 60, of Clearwater, Fla., with transporting immigrants in the U.S. illegally. Investigators found the packed truck at a Walmart in San Antonio over the weekend. Ten people who were inside the truck have died.
“Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime,” Homan argued. “These folks, they contract with criminal organizations. These organizations are the same organizations that smuggle drugs, they smuggle weapons, smuggle people that want to do harm to this country. You talk about drug cartels…are talking about smuggling folks. These are not victimless crimes,” he said.
“When you're victimized as an illegal alien or somebody stealing your social security number or your credit rating goes to zero because someone took your identity. This is not a victimless crime,” Homan continued. “Those folks that want to turn a blind eye to illegal immigration, this is what happens. There's real consequences, this is a life-and-death decision that these people make.”
Entering the U.S. illegally is a crime, Homan said, and it should be treated as such.
“That is why the message needs to be clear: we're going to enforce the laws of this country,” he said. “If you enter illegally, if it's a crime, and if you think you're going to be safe in a sanctuary city, that is a message I'm trying to get. Sanctuary cities can choose not to cooperate with ICE and choose to shield people from detection. I'm going to send additional resources and we're going to find these people. We're going to enforce the law without apology.”
Homan, who previously served as ICE's executive associate director of enforcement and removal operations before becoming the acting director, argued that sanctuary cities are hurting the ability of officials to enforce immigration laws.
“I wish these jurisdictions would work with us, wish they (would) think about the decisions they're making,” he said. “They're enticing people to come and find refuge in their city. This is not the America that should be. We didn't enforce the laws without apology and we need to take the magnet away,” he said.
“I can't blame anybody for wanting to come to the United States. There's a legal way to do it and a not legal way to do it. Millions have come to this country and become parts of it's society through the legal process. That's what we need to stick to,” Homan added.