Donald Trump's Former ICE Chief to Be Honored at Notorious Anti-Muslim Convention - 2018-09-01
The former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is listed as the "special dinner gala honoree" at an upcoming convention for ACT for America, an organization accused of having links to white supremacists and that is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "an anti-Muslim hate group." Thomas Homan served as ICE's acting director under President Donald Trump until June of this year. During a period in which the Trump administration came under intense public scrutiny for its aggressive immigration enforcement tactics, Homan was an unapologetic proponent of controversial policies such as the separation of migrant families at the southern border.
ACT for America and its founder Brigitte Gabriel have been criticized by civil rights groups for fomenting anti-Muslim hatred and conspiracy theories. Gabriel, a vocal activist on the right, has claimed that U.S. government institutions have been infiltrated by seditious Muslim sleeper agents and that Muslims generally comprise a fifth column within the United States. The organization has been involved in efforts to promote anti-Muslim legislation at the state level, including so called anti-Sharia bills that would effectively criminalize common religious practices. Last year, the organization staged a nationwide "March Against Sharia" in numerous cities across the United States. Though many of those rallies were overshadowed by larger counterprotests, they were criticized for being organized and attended by white supremacists, including members of the neo-Nazi groups Identity Evropa and Vanguard America. Gabriel herself has said that "every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim," and that Muslims cannot be loyal citizens of the United States. Shortly after Trump took office, Gabriel was welcomed at the White House, sharing pictures of herself meeting with administration officials last year.
This year's ACT for America national conference, scheduled for September 4 and 5, will be held at a Hyatt Regency hotel in suburban Washington, D.C., despite complaints from activist groups that the hotel chain is effectively helping facilitate a hate rally. In years past, ACT for America's conferences have attracted numerous high-ranking GOP officials, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who was awarded with the organization's "National Security Eagle Award" in 2017. The previous year's recipient was current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who spoke at ACT events in 2013 and 2015 and helped organize a 2016 legislative briefing by the group for Republican members of Congress. Gabriel has described Pompeo as a "steadfast ally" of the organization.