Former ICE acting director on border: ‘This is a crisis I've never seen before at this level’

Former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tom Homan, a Fox News contributor, said Tuesday that the situation at the southern border “is a crisis I've never seen before at this level.”

Homan, who served as acting ICE director under President Donald Trump from 2017-2018, made the comment on “America’s Newsroom” a day after Mexican police and immigration agents detained hundreds of Central American migrants in the largest single raid on a migrant caravan since the groups started moving through the country last year.

“I think it's a good thing that they're stepping up because I've been saying the criminal cartels are operating with impunity in Mexico,” said Homan.

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“It is actually a crime in Mexico to commit alien smuggling trafficking, especially of women and children, so I'm glad Mexico is finally stepping up but I will hold my final judgment until I see, number one, will this be a sustained operation that’s going to continue? And number two, what are the results of these operations? Are they going to give them asylum in Mexico? Are they going to deport them back to their homeland? Or are they going to end up releasing them slowly only to make their way to the United States?"

He added, “I know we have CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) observers and advisers down there along with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), I just want to see what the result of this is and what the long-term implications are.”

Homan also told “America’s Newsroom” that according to figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the Rio Grande Valley sector, more than 164,000 people were apprehended so far this fiscal year, which surpasses the total number of apprehensions in 2018. Also, on average, border patrol agents reportedly arrest more than 1100 people per day.

“I've done this for 34 years. I started in border patrol in 1984. This is the worst I've ever seen it,” said Homan in response to the latest figures.

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Homan added that there have been years when agents arrested more than one million people but he said it’s important to note that 95 percent of those arrests were Mexican nationals who were processed and removed within an hour.

“When I was a border patrol agent, I caught the same alien three or four times in one shift. So that million wasn’t really a million, it was probably a half a million just entering multiple times,” said Homan.

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“But this by far is the worst I’ve ever seen it because this one million people, they’re coming and they’re not going home cause they're taking advantage of the asylum laws, they could take years to get them removed. This is a crisis I've never seen before at this level.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.