- The Washington Times - Friday, June 14, 2019

President Trump said Friday he will appoint Thomas Homan, a top former Homeland Security official, as his new border “czar.”

Tom Homan’s coming back,” the president said on “Fox & Friends.” “He’ll be a border czar. He’ll be reporting directly to me. He’ll be probably working out of the White House. He’s a good man.”

Mr. Homan, 57, is the blunt-talking former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He has been working lately as a contributor and commentator for Fox News, where he is a vocal supporter of Mr. Trump’s border security proposals.

The president said he intended to make the announcement next week, “but I’d rather announce it now.”

“He’s going to be very much involved with the border,” he said.

The post would not require Senate confirmation.

Mr. Homan had been poised to retire from ICE in early 2017 when he got a call from John F. Kelly, then Mr. Trump’s homeland security chief, asking him to stay on and become director. He was nominated to the post and served as acting director, but his nomination never gained traction on Capitol Hill and he left the job a year ago.

While in the role, he had pushed to bring criminal charges against the leaders of sanctuary cities, saying they could be prosecuted for harboring illegal immigrants.

ICE is responsible for detaining and deporting both new border crossers and those caught in the interior.

As border czar, Mr. Homan’s time is likely to be consumed with Customs and Border Protection, the agency responsible for the Border Patrol and the ports of entry.

That agency has been overwhelmed by the surge of illegal immigrant children and families from Central America, who are exploiting lax U.S. policies to gain a foothold here.

Advocates for stricter immigration policies said Mr. Trump made the right pick in Mr. Homan.

“The border has become increasingly porous, and action is desperately needed. Tom Homan is uniquely qualified to address these problems,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute.

Mr. Trump had considered former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for the job. Mr. Kobach said he turned it down, while Mr. Cuccinelli was first named an adviser at Homeland Security and has since been picked as the acting director at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which along with ICE and CBP is responsible for immigration.

Stephen Dinan contributed to this article.

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