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Thomas Homan, former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director, has been invited to campus by the Penn College Republicans to address common misconceptions about ICE, as well as speak on border security as a broader issue.

Credit: Tamara Wurman

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, former United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan will speak at an event hosted by Penn College Republicans. He deserves to be heard.

Regardless of one’s political affiliation, it is undeniable that a pressing situation exists on the southern United States border. Since October 2019 alone, there have been over 101,000 apprehensions along the border, including over 9,400 unaccompanied minors. There have been 40,882 pounds of methamphetamine and 12,532 pounds of cocaine seized nationally by U.S. Customs and Border Protection during this time period. 

As the former acting director of ICE, Mr. Homan has firsthand experience dealing with both issues. Many people forget that ICE has multiple distinct components. Homeland Security Investigations is the criminal law enforcement agency tasked with enforcing criminal violations, including the smuggling of drugs and the investigating of human trafficking. Mr. Homan oversaw both this agency and the more commonly known Enforcement and Removal Operations. 

Mr. Homan has been invited to campus to address these and other common misconceptions about ICE, as well as to speak on border security as a broader issue. He can attest how ICE makes lives safer through the investigation of transnational crime, and “[h]e has been widely recognized for his leadership as a law enforcement officer.” The Obama administration recognized Mr. Homan’s admirable career when he was awarded the 2015 Presidential Rank Award “for consistently demonstrating strength, integrity, and commitment to public service.”

As a qualified, relevant expert in a pressing policy area, Homan deserves the chance to be heard. The purpose of this event is to both inform the Penn community and create an opportunity for Penn students to challenge Mr. Homan in an appropriate manner. As with all previous College Republican events, there will be a chance for students to ask questions. It is encouraged that anyone who disagrees with Mr. Homan vigorously defend their beliefs after listening to Mr. Homan’s speech.

When Mr. Homan was invited to Penn previously, he was unable to speak due to the large number of disruptive protesters both inside and outside the event. Penn wanted to encourage a meaningful conversation on immigration by inviting Mr. Homan to speak with those who may not agree with his views, including two immigrant rights advocates. This was prevented from happening in a violation of the fundamental principles of free speech. As an organization, College Republicans believe Mr. Homan’s ideas can and will stand up to scrutiny and thus we encourage questions from those who disagree. 

We encourage everyone to come hear a qualified and commended policy expert speak about a critical issue facing our country on Jan. 28 in Houston Hall of Flags at 7 p.m. Regardless of your political position, it is critical that Penn remains a place where speakers can both be heard and challenged on their ideas.