Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan gave an impassioned defense of President Trump on Wednesday, stressing the importance of catching and deporting violent illegal immigrants, including MS-13 gang members.
“I know you’ve been taking a hit on your comments about animals and MS-13, but I think you’re being kind,” Homan told Trump at a roundtable discussion of immigration and gang violence in Bethpage, Long Island Wednesday. “Animals kill for survival, MS-13 kills for sport.”
“I called them animals the other day and I was met with rebuke,” Trump responded. “They said, ‘These are people.’ These are not people, these are animals and we have to be very, very tough.”
Trump made his original ‘animals’ comment last week, at a roundtable discussion of the hindrances “sanctuary” policies cause for federal officials trying to track down violent illegal immigrants.
Many media outlets initially reported the president’s “animals” remark to be referring to undocumented immigrants in general, rather than gang members specifically. Some outlets walked back their misleading characterizations of the remark afterwards, while the White House mounted a vigorous defense of the president.
Coincidentally, an MS-13 member whose nickname is “Animal” happened to be sentenced to 40 years in prison this week for crimes including the murder of a 15-year-old boy.