In February, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan made it clear to Congress members that the agency had authorization to target and remove every single one of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US.
Although Homan's announcement concerned lawmakers, what he had to say in a recent meeting was far more alarming.
In a meeting on “Immigration & Customs Enforcement and Customs & Border Protection Budget," Homan said ICE shouldn't be accused of tearing families apart — undocumented immigrants should.
"It isn't the fault of law enforcement that people get separated. It's the fault of the perpetrator. If someone enters this country illegally and knows he's in the country illegally and is found to be in the country illegally and is ordered removed from the country and chooses to have a child in this country that's a US citizen by virtue of birth, he put himself in that position, so ICE is not separating that family."
As Pew Research reports, the number of babies born in the US to unauthorized immigrants has declined since 2007.
Homan also added that undocumented immigrants should continue to live in fear.
"If you’re in this country illegally, and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried," he told the House Appropriations subcommittee.
The ICE chief said arresting non-criminal undocumented immigrants is necessary to set an example for others. "If we wait for them to violate yet another law against a citizen of this country, then it’s too late. We shouldn’t wait for them to become a criminal," he stated.
He stands firm in protecting his federal agency and believes ICE officers are under attack and have been "vilified for simply doing their jobs."
"Too often that respect does not seem to extend to the honorable men and women of ICE," he said.
What Homan failed to address was the number of people who have been detained and deported, even though they were supposed to be safeguarded by the law.
Even if people wanted to fight their case, they can't — and ICE knows this. According to the American Immigration Council, only 37% of all immigrants nationwide have had legal representation for their cases.
The undocumented community's anger is not unjust if the system in place is built to fail them.