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Former head of ICE shouts down congresswoman of color: 'You work for me!'

Tom Homan melted down after Rep. Pramila Jayapal tried to enforce his time limits. He claimed she ‘worked for’ him.

By Josh Israel - September 26, 2019
Thomas Homan

Tom Homan, Donald Trump’s former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and a current Fox News anti-immigration talking head, was one of two witnesses invited by the Republican minority for a hearing today at the House Judiciary Committee’s Immigration and Citizenship subcommittee. When Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the vice chair leading the meeting and the first Indian American woman to serve in Congress, tried to enforce time limits, he melted down and screamed that she “worked for” him.

The hearing, entitled “The Expansion and Troubling Use of ICE Detention,” was an examination of the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants and refugees in prison-like “detention facilities.” A few weeks ago, Homan previewed his plan to attack the Democratic majority during a Fox News segment.

“I understand this hearing is important, but where are hearings on the Southern border, on sanctuary cities?” he asked. “It seems like they have a quick hearing when those who violate our laws may find a difficult position, they say they’re not being treated fairly.”

On Thursday, he repeatedly attempted to change the subject from ICE policy to congressional inaction on Trump’s anti-immigrant proposals. Ignoring the fact that both chambers were actually under Republican control for his entire tenure as acting ICE director, and that the Democrats have been in charge for less than a year, Homan scolded them.

“You want to know why there’s 50,000 people in detention?” he said. “You want to know why we have 1 million illegal entries in the United States? You want to know why we’re having these issues? Because you have failed to secure the border. You have failed to work with this president to close the three loopholes we’ve asked for two years to close!”

At this point, Jayapal politely notified Homan that his time had expired. He ignored her and raised his voice to talk over her.

“Mr. Homan, please respect the chair and the authority of the chair. The time of the gentleman has expired,” she told him.

As she attempted to recognize another committee member for their time to speak, Homan started screaming at her. “I have asked you politely to go beyond my time and you let other people go beyond their time. But not to Tom Homan,” he stammered. “He don’t [sic] get to go beyond his time. This is a circus!”

When Jayapal tried to explain that one person had been given extra time — by bipartisan agreement — due to being interrupted by a protester, Homan again shouted over her. “You work for me! I’m a taxpayer. I’m a taxpayer, you work for me,” he yelled.

When Trump picked Homan for a Homeland Security job in November 2017, the announcement identified him as a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Given that Jayapal is a representative from the state of Washington, Homan might want to reread Article I of the U.S. Constitution.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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