ICE acting director Thomas Homan announces plan to retire

He originally planned to step down at the end of the Obama administration but stayed on until a permanent director could be found.
by Julia Ainsley /  / Updated 
Image: Thomas Homan
Thomas Homan, pictured last June, has been the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement since the beginning of the Trump administration.Kevin Lamarque / Reuters file

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The acting director of the agency responsible for deporting immigrants plans to retire.

Thomas Homan, whose retirement plans were first reported by The Wall Street Journal, has served as the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement since the beginning of the Trump administration.

An ICE official told NBC News that Homan had planned to retire in January 2017, at the end of the Obama administration, but stayed on until the Trump administration could find a permanent nominee. His last day of work is expected to be in June.

He was nominated to become the permanent director of ICE in November 2017, during Obama's tenure, but Congress never scheduled a confirmation hearing.

A separate official at the Department of Homeland Security said Homan’s tough stance on immigration would have made it difficult for him to secure the needed votes.

The decision to leave federal service after more than 34 years is bittersweet.

Homan told Fox News in February that politicians who govern so-called sanctuary cities, where local police limit their cooperation with federal immigration agents, should be charged with crimes. Under his tenure as the top official at ICE, the agency has increased arrests of noncriminal migrants and raids on workplaces.

"The decision to leave federal service after more than 34 years is bittersweet, but my family has sacrificed a lot in order for me to serve and it’s time for me to focus on them," Homan said in a statement.

"Because of their tremendous dedication and hard work, we have made significant progress this past year in enforcing our nation’s immigration and customs laws, and in protecting public safety and national security. I will continue to be a strong advocate for the workforce and for the ICE mission," Homan said.

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