(The Center Square) – Former director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tom Homan told Congress that President Joe Biden is the only president in U.S. history to “unsecure the border on purpose.”
At the Wednesday hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, Homan also reiterated what he previously told The Center Square: Biden’s “open border policies have created the greatest national security crisis since 9/11.”
Homan said he worked for ICE under six different presidential administrations, both Democrats and Republicans: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barrack Obama and Donald Trump.
He said he started at ICE “in 1984 as a border agent, then special agent. I rose through the ranks the next three decades to become the first director of ICE that came up through the ranks. Border security and our nation’s national security has been my entire professional world for 34 years.”
Homan said over his career, policies changed under the six presidents. But every president he worked for “took some steps to secure the border because they all understood that you can’t obtain strong national security if you don’t have strong border security.
“President Biden is the first president to ever un-secure a border on purpose. He was handed the most secure border in our nation’s history. It is a critical fact that border security is national security. Hard stop, it’s a fact.”
The former ICE director described policies he helped put in place under the Trump administration to “go from an uncontrolled chaotic border to a border that was the most secure I have seen throughout my career.” During his decades-long career, he said, he saw policies fail and succeed but the most successful ones were implemented by the Trump administration. Biden abolished them, he said, resulting in “chaos.”
By pulling thousands of Border Patrol agents from the field to process illegal border crossers and release them into the country, cartels took advantage of an open and unmanned border to smuggle record numbers of people, drugs and weapons, Homan said. Biden administration policies also caused a record number of Americans to die from fentanyl poisoning and a record number of people on the Terrorist Watch List to illegally enter the country. In fiscal 2023 alone, 736 known or suspected terrorists were apprehended at U.S. border, the highest number in U.S. history.
Homan pointed to a record number of unaccompanied minors being smuggled into the country, saying, “More than 440,000 children have been placed in the hands of criminal cartels to be smuggled across our border since Biden has taken office. Most damning is that this administration has lost track of nearly 100,000” of them, and have no idea where they are, who they are with, or if they are safe. “We already know thousands … have been subjected to sex slavery, forced labor and debt bondage.”
He also said, “an historic number of illegal aliens have died on US soil, nearly 1700. The number of senseless deaths shattered every record. Nothing even close has ever occurred.”
The administration’s “systematic destruction of border security and the predictable consequences scare the hell out of me. It should scare you too,” he told members of Congress.
The Biden administration has blamed the Trump administration, global warming, and Congress for the unprecedented illegal entries at the border. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has claimed the border is secure. Mayorkas implemented multiple policies, he said, because he didn’t agree with the laws passed by Congress. Multiple states sued to stop them and congressional hearings are underway to begin the process to impeach him.
Homan also pointed to apprehension data published by CBP, which The Center Square first reported: over 10 million illegal border crossers from January 2021 through Sept. 30, 2023, and nearly 2 million gotaways. They total greater than the individual populations of 41 states.
Gotaways is the official CBP term used to describe foreign nationals who illegally enter the U.S. between ports of entry and don’t return to Mexico or Canada. They don’t file asylum or other immigration-related claims and intentionally illegally enter to avoid being caught. Many have criminal records; the majority are single military age men, authorities have said.
Homan asked the committee, “Who are these gotaways? Where are they from? Where are they now? For what purpose did they choose to escape rather than surrender themselves to the Border Patrol?
“My biggest concern about this historic self-inflicted tragedy of the Biden open border is that it has become the biggest national security failure I have seen since 9- 11,” he continued.
Border Patrol agents have arrested foreign nationals from 181 countries, including from countries that sponsor terrorism. Homan asked how many gotaways were terrorists, brought in fentanyl, were criminals or gang members, and were sex trafficking women and children.
The consequences of Biden’s border policies have led to increased crime nationwide, he said, turning “every city and state in this country into a border city and border state.
“The only conclusion to draw at this point is that this crisis was intentional.”