United States Flag
Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security

Report Crimes: Email or Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE

mobile search image

Enforcement and Removal Operations


  • Email icon
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Google Plus icon
Enforcement and Removal Operations
Enforcement and Removal Operations
Enforcement and Removal Operations


To identify, arrest, and remove aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the United States illegally or otherwise undermine the integrity of our immigration laws and our border control efforts. Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) upholds America's immigration laws at, within and beyond our borders through efficient enforcement and removal operations.

ERO enforces the nation's immigration laws in a fair and effective manner. It identifies and apprehends removable aliens, detains these individuals when necessary and removes illegal aliens from the United States.

ERO prioritizes the apprehension, arrest and removal of convicted criminals, those who pose a threat to national security, fugitives and recent border entrants. Individuals seeking asylum also work with ERO.

ERO transports removable aliens from point to point, manages aliens in custody or in an alternative to detention program, provides access to legal resources and representatives of advocacy groups and removes individuals from the United States who have been ordered to be deported.

FY 2015 ICE Immigration Removals

In addition to its criminal investigative responsibilities, ICE shares responsibility for enforcing the nation's civil immigration laws with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). ICE's role in the immigration enforcement system is focused on two primary missions: (1) the identification and apprehension of criminal aliens and other removable individuals located in the United States; and (2) the detention and removal of those individuals apprehended in the interior of the U.S., as well as those apprehended by CBP officers and agents patrolling our nation's borders.

In executing these responsibilities, ICE has prioritized its limited resources on the identification and removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States. This report provides an overview of ICE Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 civil immigration enforcement and removal operations. See FY 2015 ICE Immigration Removals Statistics

Thomas Homan, Executive Associate Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations
Thomas Homan
Executive Associate Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations

Thomas D. Homan is Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Washington, D.C.

Mr. Homan is a 30 year veteran of law enforcement and has 27 years of immigration experience. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, he began his career as a police officer in New York. In 1984, he became a United States Border Patrol Agent in Campo, Calif., in the San Diego sector. In 1988, he became a Special Agent with the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in Phoenix, Ariz., and climbed through the ranks of Supervisory Special Agent and Deputy Assistant Director for Investigations.

In 1999, Mr. Homan became the Assistant District Director for Investigations (ADDI) in San Antonio, Texas, and three years later transferred to the ADDI position in Dallas, Texas. Upon the creation of ICE, Mr. Homan was named as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge in Dallas, Texas, and later as the Deputy Special Agent in Charge there.

In March of 2009, Mr. Homan accepted the position of Assistant Director for Enforcement at ICE Headquarters in Washington DC and was subsequently promoted to Deputy Executive Associate Director. In May of 2013, Mr. Homan was promoted to Executive Associate Director for ERO. Mr. Homan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and is a member of the Senior Executive Service.


To accomplish its mission, ERO is organized into the following divisions:

  • Field Operations: Oversees, directs, coordinates, and supports ERO’s 24 field offices (read more)
  • Enforcement: Manages enforcement initiatives and components through which ERO identifies and arrests removable aliens (read more)
  • Custody Management: Manages ICE detention operations to efficiently and effectively provide for the safety, security, and care of persons in ICE custody. (read more)
  • Removal: Enforces the removal of all aliens, who have a final order of removal, by coordinating with foreign governments worldwide. (read more)
  • ICE Health Service Corps: Provides medical, dental and mental health care to persons in ICE custody. (read more)
  • Operations Support: Provides financial, budgetary, asset management and human resources support to all of ERO. (read more)

ERO Field Offices

ERO has 24 field offices throughout the United States.

This information is archived and not reflective of current practice.

ICE Detainers: Frequently Asked Questions

December 28, 2011

Q: What is an immigration detainer?

A: An immigration detainer (Form I-247) is a notice that DHS issues to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to inform the LEA that ICE intends to assume custody of an individual in the LEA's custody.

An immigration detainer serves three key functions: 1) to notify an LEA that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien in the LEA's custody once the alien is no longer subject to the LEA's detention; 2) to request information from an LEA about an alien's impending release so ICE may assume custody before the alien is released from the LEA's custody; and 3) to request that the LEA maintain custody of an alien who would otherwise be released for a period not to exceed 48 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) to provide ICE time to assume custody.

Q: Why does ICE issue detainers?

A: Detainers are critical for ICE to be able to identify and ultimately remove criminal aliens who are currently in federal, state or local custody.

ICE relies on the cooperation of our state and local law enforcement partners in this effort.

Q: What if the LEA needs the individual to remain in the United States for prosecution or other law enforcement purposes?

A: Local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are advised that once individuals are in ICE custody, they may be removed from the United States. If the LEA wants an individual to remain in the United States for prosecution or other law enforcement purposes, including acting as a witness, the agency should notify the local Field Office or the ICE Law Enforcement Support Center at (802) 872-6020.

Q: Where does ICE's authority to issue a detainer stem from?

A: By issuing a detainer, ICE requests that a law enforcement agency notify ICE before releasing an alien and maintain custody of the subject for a period not to exceed 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, to allow ICE to assume custody. This request flows from federal regulations at 8 C.F.R. § 287.7, which arises from the Secretary's power under the Immigration and Nationality Act § 103(a)(3), 8 U.S.C. 1103(a)(3), to issue “regulations … necessary to carry out [her] authority” under the INA, and from ICE's general authority to detain individuals who are subject to removal or removal proceedings.

Q: What has been changed on the I-247 form?

A: The new I-247 form requests that the LEA provide to the subject of the detainer a copy of the detainer form and a notice advising him or her that ICE intends to assume custody. The notice informs these individuals that ICE has requested the LEA to maintain custody beyond the time when they would have been released by the state or local law enforcement authorities based on their criminal charges or convictions. The notice contains translations into Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

The new I-247 form also emphasizes that local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) may only hold an alien for a period not to exceed 48 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays).

Q: What happens if ICE does not assume custody of the individual after 48 hours?

A: If ICE does not assume custody after 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays), the local law enforcement agency (LEA) is required to release the individual. The LEA may not lawfully hold an individual beyond the 48-hour period.

Q: What if the subject of the detainer believes that he or she has been held beyond the 48 hours, or has a complaint?

A: The Notice to the Detainee advises individuals that if ICE does not take them into custody during the 48 hours, they should contact the LEA or entity that is holding them to inquire about their release from state or local custody.

If the individual has a complaint regarding the detainer or violations of civil rights or civil liberties connected to DHS activities, he or she should contact the ICE Joint Intake Center at 1-877-2INTAKE (877-246-8253).

Q: What happens if a detainer is placed on a victim of a crime or a U.S. citizen?

A: If the local law enforcement agency (LEA) believes the individual may be the victim of a crime or a U.S. citizen, the LEA should notify the ICE Law Enforcement Support Center at (802) 872-6020.

If the subject of the detainer believes that he or she is a victim of a crime or a U.S. citizen, that individual should advise DHS by calling the ICE Law Enforcement Support Center at the following toll-free number (855) 448-6903.