Former Rep. George Santos, R-NY, has a new career path in mind, hoping to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2025 under a re-elected President Donald Trump — arguing that the agency has had its hands tied “for far too long.”
Santos, was elected to the House in 2022 but was expelled from Congress late last year because of charges he faces related to allegations of defrauding campaign contributors and misusing campaign funds. He is currently in talks with prosecutors to reach a plea deal.
But the former congressman already has one eye on the future and in a post on X, formerly Twitter, said his New Year’s resolution is “that President Trump returns to the white house and in 2025 I can be appointed Director of ICE.
He said it’s time to “reclaim our country” and took aim at what he called “nonsense” numbers being pushed by the media.
“We have over 50M+ people who have invaded our sovereignty over the years due to careless and neglectful immigration policy, if given the job I know exactly where to start and run the much needed raids of removals proceedings this country needs,” he said.
Estimates typically put the number of illegal immigrants in the country between 11 and 20 million. Meanwhile there are approximately six million people on ICE’s non-detained docket. FY 23, meanwhile, saw approximately 2.4 million encounters at the southern border — a new record.
Trump has promised to launch a mass deportation operation if re-elected to the White House, in contrast to the narrowing of enforcement seen under the Biden administration.
“Following the Eisenhower Model, we will carry out the largest domestic deportation operation in American history,” Trump said in September.
That message is something that Santos says he can get behind.
“ICE has had their hands tied for far too long with the sole exception of the great four years of DJT,” he said. “The time is now and that’s why I’m putting my name in the mix for a role that will take grit and a fearless person and not a coward that will fear media spin.”
A recent ICE report found that the number of illegal immigrants being deported has increased but it is still a fraction of the increase in the illegal immigrant population. There were 142,580 removals in FY 23, up considerably from 72,177 in FY 22 and 59,011 in FY 21, but still down from the highs of 267,258 under the Trump administration in FY 19. ICE noted that the 142,580 removals were in addition to over 60,000 Title 42 expulsions in FY 23 at the border, some of whom it said would have otherwise been subject to deportation.