Former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tom Homan suggested on Monday that if he decides to run for political office in New York state, he would ultimately want to take on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
“Let me just say this,” Homan told host Larry O’Connor during an episode of his “Examining Politics” podcast. “When I do return to New York and if Senator Gillibrand is still around, she won’t be around because I will take her on.”
Homan’s remarks were in response to O’Connor’s inquiry as to whether Homan would be interested in replacing Rep. Pete King (R-NY), who announce that after 14 terms in Congress he would not be seeking reelection when his current term expires.
Homan, who was born in New York, noted that he was not currently a resident of the Empire state, but will likely be when he retires, similar to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who previously held the United States Senate seat.
Gillibrand has been an outspoken opponent of the ICE and one of the first Democratic lawmakers to call for abolishing the immigration enforcement agency.
“I believe we need to protect families who need help, and ICE isn’t doing that,” the New York senator said in June 2018. “It has become a deportation force. We need to separate immigration issues from criminal justice. We need to abolish ICE, start over and build something that actually works.”
Gillibrand received widespread backlash after she continued to promote ICE’s abolishment. She subsequently walked back some of her comments that she claimed were misconstrued. Gillibrand said that despite demanding that “we need to abolish ICE,” she stated in September 2018 that she believes America still needs an agency that will fulfill the goals that ICE was created to achieve.
Claiming that the agency has strayed from its intended duties, Gillibrand argued that ICE in its current form should be eliminated, but that a new agency should replace it that will execute the same mission of enforcing U.S. immigration laws and investigating criminal activity of foreign nationals residing within the country.
Homan has been a frequent witness in Congressional hearings where he has been known to get into fiery exchanges with House Democrats. After O’Connor asked whether he would be providing testimony at Capitol Hill anytime soon, Homan responded that he was scheduled to appear next week.
“The Democrats don’t want me up there but when they have these hearings and they want to attack the administration, they have to give the minority, the Republicans in the House, one witness,” Homan told O’Connor. “They’re quick to call me because I’ve done it for 34 years, I know the game, I’ve played it … if you say something that’s not right I’m going to speak up.”
Homan got into a heated exchange with some Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee in September after he slammed Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and her Democratic colleagues for holding President Donald Trump and his administration to a different standard than they had for former President Barack Obama.
“ICE are the good guys. ICE wants to protect the community. ICE wants to take the bad guy off the street,” Homan told O’Connor.