U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Executive Associate Director (EAD) of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Thomas D. Homan was one of three Department of Homeland Security (DHS) career executives who received a 2015 Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Service, which is bestowed to leaders who’ve achieved sustained extraordinary results.
EAD Homan rose in his 31-year career in law enforcement from a police officer in New York, to the head of ERO in 2013. EAD Homan serves as first-in-command of ERO ― the ICE operational directorate charged with investigating, apprehending and removing criminal aliens and immigration violators from the United States, as well as dismantling terrorist and criminal organizations that exploit our borders and lawful immigration system.
EAD Homan’s leadership was tried and proven exemplary during unanticipated and severe challenges in immigration enforcement. EAD Homan directed his work force of nearly 8,000 (approximately 6,000 of whom are law enforcement officers) and managed an operating budget of more than $3 billion during a time of exceptional ERO growth, unchartered immigration enforcement territory and reduced resources.
EAD Homan’s combined knowledge and experience, including his police force background and 30 years of immigration enforcement expertise, resulted in his decisive and sound executive leadership. EAD Homan led efforts to ensure community safety. He marshalled efforts to handle the surge of unaccompanied children and family units from Central America who illegally entered the United States from across the Texas Rio Grande Valley. He spearheaded the management and reform of the largest civil detention system in the nation.
ERO’s extensive accomplishments under the helm of EAD Homan have been impressive and wide-reaching in scope.
- In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, ERO completed full nationwide deployment of an original automated federal biometric information sharing capability that resulted in the removal of more than 325,000 criminal aliens, of which 40 percent were convicted of an aggravated felony or multiple felonies.
- In FY 2014, ERO removed nearly 316,000 individuals from the United States. An astounding 98 percent of these removals fell within one of ICE’s stated enforcement priorities. Nearly 56 percent, or 177,960 of those removed, were convicted criminal aliens. (To put these numbers in perspective, the amount of criminal aliens removed from U.S. communities in FY 2014 would fill the Dallas Cowboy’s Stadium to capacity more than two times over. This success directly impacted public safety.)
- In the three years that EAD Homan has been at the helm, ERO has removed more than 920,000 aliens from the United States. In that same time frame, ERO arrested and removed 534,000 criminal aliens. These accomplishments have a direct impact on national security and public safety. Our communities are safer because of those accomplishments.
- During the historic surge of unaccompanied children (UAC) across the Southwest border in 2014, EAD Homan led ERO’s response to the crisis through major staffing redeployments, innovative initiatives and other incident management strategies to facilitate the timely transfer of more than 55,000 UACs into custody the of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an increase of 145 percent from FY 2013. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Trafficking Victims Protection Rehabilitation Act (TVPRA) of 2007 mandates that ICE transfer the custody of UACs to ORR within 72 hours, and EAD Homan worked tirelessly to ensure ERO complied with those laws.
- Also in response to the unprecedented number of family units illegally crossing the border, EAD Homan successfully led expedited efforts to expand family detention capacity from 96 to more than 3,000 beds, an increase of more than 3,000 percent.
- Several other agency records were established in FY 2015 under the direction of EAD Homan. Ninety-one percent of all interior arrests by ERO were aliens that had a criminal conviction― an agency record. Fifty-nine percent of all aliens removed from the U.S. by ERO were convicted criminals ― another agency record. And finally, a record 98 percent of FY 2015 removals met one or more of the civil immigration enforcement priorities, which constitutes a near perfect execution of the stated mission.
For all of these accomplishments and more, EAD Homan received the nation’s highest civil service award – the 2015 Presidential Rank Award. The president bestows this award each year to top career executive and senior professionals for consistently demonstrating strength, integrity and commitment to public service.
“ERO is a big machine with many moving parts and whether you serve in a support position or are a law enforcement officer, everyone plays an important role and the machine will not perform if any part fails. I can sit in DC and manage the program and develop strategies all day long. But it is the 8,000 employees who put the plans into action and cause them to succeed. They are the real heroes. I have been in law enforcement for 31 years, and I have never been so honored to work with such a hard working bunch of people in my life. They get it done everyday.’”