Live from Virginia Monday morning on The John Fredericks Show – weekdays on WNTW AM 820/ FM 92.7 – Richmond, WJFN FM 100.5 – Central Virginia, WMPH AM 1010 / FM 100.1 / FM 96.9 (7-9 PM) Hampton Roads, WBRG AM 1050 / FM 105.1 – Lynchburg/Roanoke and Weekdays 6-10 am and 24/7 Stream – host Fredericks welcomed Acting ICE Director Tony Pham to the show to discuss his transition and a disturbing visit from the left-wing mobs at his home in Virginia.
Fredericks: Joining us now Tony Pham. Tony is from Richmond in the Henrico area he’s a new interim ICE director since August. He’s a Vietnamese refugee. He’s been on my show. He ran for office before when we used to have them all on all the time. And his family just got harassed at their home. And he’s the director of ICE. Tony great to have you, man. It’s been a long time.
Pham: John, thank you so much. I’m grateful for the opportunity to jump on the show and to have a conversation with the American people.
Fredericks: Let’s talk about your transition from when you ran for office in Richmond to now being the interim Director for ICE in the Trump administration. Walk us through how you got there.
Pham: Let me first John say I’m grateful for the president. I’m grateful for the Department of Homeland Security and for this great opportunity to serve my country and serve my president and our president. Forgive me. The transition wasn’t really a difficult one. You know when I ran for office in 2015 I ran to be the chief prosecutor for the locality.
And the role was to apply the law as it was written. The criminal law. And hold individuals accountable. Obviously now in my role as the Acting Director for Immigration Customs Enforcement, our role is to protect the American people and our communities from cross-border crimes.
Human trafficking. Illegal immigration. We cover the gambit. So my role is to assist the organization moving forward by applying the laws. Over 400 of them, to those particular subjects uh for public safety purposes.
Fredericks: How long have you been there? Is it August?
Pham: I was actually the principal legal advisor the chief attorney for ICE and I’ve received the opportunity to step into the breach as the acting director in the beginning of September. So I’m getting ready to round out my fourth full week so far.
Fredericks: What has been your biggest shock since you’ve been there? Your biggest surprise Tony Pham?
Pham: Well my biggest surprise is just the misunderstanding that folks and the general public would have as to what we are really about. And then also the vitriol that is out there right now against you know the honorable employees of ICE who come to work every day just to quietly apply the law as we have asked them to do in an enforcement capacity.
And I’m just surprised that how the issues of legal immigration and illegal immigration have been conflated by some individuals out there. The loud voices. A lot of voices of the minority who want to, you know mix the two bags and to confuse the American public.
You know we’re all for legal immigration. You know we want folks to follow the process and the pathways to citizenship. But we also have the rule of law which is what this country is built on that it protects individuals in our communities.
But you know we need folks to be able to honorably enforce those laws. And that’s what the men and women of ICE do every day. And so I was a bit taken aback. I shouldn’t say completely surprised, but I took it on as a challenge to do the best I can to do. What we can to change the narrative of how our folks are being characterized out there in the community.
Fredericks: I’ve followed your career. I’m so proud of what you’ve been able to do as the interim Director of ICE and part of the Department of Homeland Security. I hope you continue in the position because I think you bring a lot of maturity to it and certainly an experience.
Knowing what your parents went through in order to get to the United States and I remember you telling me that story. Telling our audience I should say that story on the air of how your family escaped in the final minutes really on a helicopter.
And then you were on a ship and all that. And how you were rescued. It’s an amazing story of how you got to the United States and in the position Tony that you have now.
Let’s get to the incident at your home where mobs came to your home where your family is and berated your family. Tell us exactly in your words what happened.
Pham: You know John like I said what happened was those are rioters who are anarchists and violent protesters. I want to begin by saying as an attorney and you know me I value and I cherish the First Amendment just as much as I would cherish the second. But that’s a right that’s for peaceful protest to articulate a particular position in a peaceful manner.
What happened on the eighth with no less than eight days in my role as I was still trying to figure out where the water cooler was these folks targeted my wife and my kids when they should have been taking their issues up with me at my office. But instead, they chose to invade the sanctity of a person’s home and target children.
And that’s what happened. They were screaming. You know saying from some really vile and nasty things. Encroaching on a person’s private property to try to harass and bully and intimidate to get to me by getting through my family.
And you know I’m going to spend a lifetime apologizing to my loved ones for what happened to them. But I want the listeners to understand and recognize that if they’re allowed to do that and if that’s what they choose to do to me, then you know it’s no holds barred at this point for these violent protesters to try to target innocent people. They elevated it to coming onto someone’s residence and that’s a bit beyond the pale. and that’s what really happened.
Fredericks: Mobs came to your home about two weeks ago targeting he says his children and his wife. Tony were you home at the time? And what time? Give us you about the exact time this happened.
Pham: It was in the afternoon and I wasn’t home. You know I obviously being in charge of a rather large law enforcement federal law enforcement component requires me to be present in my office the majority of the week. And so I wasn’t home. And that’s what added to some of the pressure and stress.
But you know we expected it to come down the pike. I expected it to be me that they were protesting. I just didn’t expect these individuals to have zero, zero respect for the sanctity of individual family members. To target someone’s family with regard to their dislike or disdain of certain policies and practices that my organization have.
And I hope the listeners understand that you know we need to come out in a very unified and loud voice condemning that type of behavior because it has zero place in our American civilized society where regular folks like you and I John need to be able to engage in civilized discourse.
Fredericks: Tony for our listeners that know you from your time in Henrico, did this happen in Northern Virginia or did this happen at your home in Henrico?
Pham: This happened to my home in Central Virginia.
Fredericks: Okay so at your home in Central Virginia. You’re at work in Washington. And so mobs come and they harass your wife and your children in your home.
Fredericks: Was there a law enforcement response what happened?
Pham: There was a law enforcement response. And on that note, it’s a continuing open investigation right now. And I certainly don’t want to comment any further obviously for my background in law enforcement John when matters are an open file I kind of shy away from commenting further. And not to, you know, not impact the progress.
Fredericks: Is it fair to say that during this mob rounding invasion I guess of your home where your family is. Is it fair to say that your wife and your children were terrified by this?
Pham: You know it’s fair to say that um but I don’t also want to mitigate and forget that this impacted an entire neighborhood. And the entire community. If you saw the video there were fellow neighbors with their children outside. But every other family that was out there in our neighborhood. That to me just showed a complete uncivilized approach to having a meaningful or thoughtful discussion…
Listen to the full show here: