Former Acting ICE Head Slams Democrat Gerry Connolly for Hearing on Treatment of Migrants

The former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tore into Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly Friday night, hours after the pair sparred during a congressional hearing about the Trump administration's family separation policy.

"This is about political theater; he ran out of there like a little girl," former ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan lamented to Fox News analyst Greg Jarrett on Friday. "[Connolly] is a coward. He didn't want to hear my response because this was all political theater."

Homan served as Trump's ICE chief until the end of June 2018. He is now a Fox News contributor.

In impassioned remarks during Friday's hearing, Connolly delivered a stern rebuke of the way migrants are being treated by immigration agencies controlled by Trump designees.

"Is there no limit to what you will justify in this administration when it comes to the mistreatment of our fellow human beings," Connolly asked. "Do you have no shame about the fact, as our colleagues said this morning, it's all done in the shadow of the American flag."

Rep. Gerry Connolly to Tom Homan: "You're not at the border right now! You're in a hearing room! It's my time!"

— The Hill (@thehill) July 13, 2019

Homan, a career law enforcement official who led a controversial tenure as Trump's chief immigration enforcement officer from 2017 to 2018, rejected even a pretense of legitimacy for criticisms made during Friday's hearing.

"This [hearing] is about resisting this president," he insisted. "This about open borders. They don't want to hear the truth."

Immigration advocates and lawyers did not view Homan's contribution to immigration policy favorably during his one-and-a-half years on the job.

"Homan would be a great mid-level functionary in any right-wing totalitarian government you can name," Thomas Saenz, the president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, told HuffPost for a profile about the immigration hawk.

According to a separate HuffPost analysis, under Homan's tenure, the first year of the Trump administration saw the number of non-criminal immigrants deported rise three-fold.

ICE traditionally says that criminal immigrants are its first priority for deportation. Ahead of Sunday's planned immigration raids in nine U.S. cities, the agency told Newsweek that "ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security."

While Connolly was questioning another witness at Friday's hearing, Homan interjected that he was "extremely frustrated."

Connolly cut him off, saying he was "not calling" on Homan.

"Of course not," Homan replied. "This isn't about transparency."

Connolly fired back, telling Homan that he's "not at the border."

"You're in a hearing room," Connolly shouted. "It's my time."

In 2015, the Obama administration awarded Homan with the Presidential Rank Award for distinguished service.

House Homeland Security Committee Holds Hearing On Border Security
Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee's Border and Marine Security subcommittee on Capitol Hill on May 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty