In an off-camera White House briefing on Wednesday afternoon, Thomas Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, admitted that undocumented immigrants do not, in fact, commit more crimes than Americans.
Homan's statement, while backed by decades of research, undermines the Trump administration's contention that unauthorized immigrants are more likely to be dangerous or violent compared to native-born Americans. President Donald Trump went so far as to create a new office in the Department of Homeland Security—the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement—for the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.
Homan's acknowledgement does not mean that ICE, or the administration more broadly, will be backing off of its aggressive immigration agenda. "If you're in this country illegally and you committed a crime by being in this country, you should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder," Homan said earlier this month before the House Appropriations Committee.
Also on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which would cut funding to sanctuary cities. The House is expected to vote on Kate's Law later this week, which would introduce mandatory minimums for undocumented immigrants who re-enter the United States after deportation.
"These bills can restore sanity and common-sense to our system by ending abusive attempts to undermine federal law, and they can prevent future tragedies by empowering law enforcement," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement in support of the bills. "I urge the House of Representatives to put the American people first before another family loses their child."